After Trevin Walbeck spotted the Antigo Red Robins with a natural hat trick in the first period, the Tomahawk Hatchets made a furious late comeback attempt, but couldn't quite catch up as the Robins won the Great Northern Conference tournament's consolation championship.
"I think Antigo is a very well coached hard working group! There is a reason that Matt was chosen as coach of the conference and the section," said Tomahawk coach Chris Bembinster. "With the amount of players he has, he was able to take down some of the teams above them this year. They are a very disciplined team and credit to Matt and his coaching staff for that. "
Trevin Walbeck opened the scoring just 57 seconds into the game. He took a feed from Eli Kassler and one-timed it home.
He followed with his second goal at the 9:23 mark. He darted from the corner to the front of the net and beat Hatchet goalie Trevor Seliskar through the five hole to make it 2-0.
He added his third goal at the 11:51 mark on another feed from Kassler.
With the Robins on the PK, Calvin Jansen managed to get a near breakaway, and coming in on the goalie's left side he put a snipe right into the blocker side corner to give Antigo a 4-0 lead after one period.
"Trev really found his scoring stride the last few weeks," said Antigo coach Matt Borneman. "He is a hustle player with good puck control."
Antigo would extend the lead to six with yet another goal by Walbeck and a goal by Tony Kanda at 5:25 and 6:41 of the second period.
Zach Friske would get Tomahawk on the board at the mid-point of the second period. He had a dirty dangle around an Antigo defenseman and found him self one-on-one with Antigo tender Aaron Converse and he won that battle to make it 6-1 and bring the game out of running time.
Tomahawk added two quick goals at the start of the third period, the first a power play goal by Caleb Dickens, and the second and even strength goal by Austin Lamer. Suddenly at the 2:04 mark of the third period we had a 6-3 hockey game.
Tomahawk would get one more just a few minutes later at 5:41, again by Lamer and the six goal lead had been cut to a 2 goal lead.
Unfortunately for the Hatchets, two penalties killed much of their momentum and they weren't able to narrow the lead any further and Antigo escaped with a 2-goal win.
"We did start really slow, but I credit the change to the leadership on the team," said Bembinster. "The coaches talked between 1 and 2, but the leaders on the team said some things before the came out for the third that obviously sparked everyone. We are are fairly young team, but definitely showing we can compete right now."
"Tomahawk took it to us in the third, they are quickly turning heads and playing good hockey," said Borneman. "Coach Bembinster has done a phenomenal job."
Seliskar had 47 saves in the loss for Tomahawk, and Converse and Nolan Bunnell combined for 24 in the win.
"We really like the GNC tournament for many reasons," said Bembinster. "It's great to get everyone together for a great day of hockey. Also the format gets competitive teams playing each other to set up for regionals next week. Everyone gets to see some strengths and weaknesses within the team to prepare for next week."