For the first time in nearly four years, the Northland Pines hockey team finally was victorious against the Stevens Points Area High School team last night, December 12. A strong second half surge led to the Eagles running away with the game, 9-2.
Special teams were in full force, accounting for 6 of 11 total goals scored, including two major power-play opportunities for the Eagles.
SPASH dominated zone time early, racing out to a 6-0 shot advantage before Harmon Marien scored on Pines’ first shot of the night. Brady Snedden dug the puck out from the corner and passed to Marien to put the puck past Spencer Wierzba. Riley McGee also picked up an assist on the play.
With Jack Rhode in the penalty box, SPASH quickly set up for a power-play goal by Dayne Hoyord from the left dot. Lochlan Siegmeier negated a breakaway opportunity by SPASH’s Carter Smigaj to keep the game tied at one apiece.
Both goalies were tested throughout the period with Wierzba and Ethan Polich snatching pucks out of the air numerous times. Cody Jantzen and Jack Rhode set up Sammy Spencer for a perfect shot from the top of the circles on a 5-on-3 advantage to take a 2-1 lead after the first period for the Eagles.
Tyler Hunt narrowly missed the net in the opening minute of the second period before Cody Jantzen made a diving play in front of the net to add another goal, assisted by Gunnar Schiffmann and Andrew Rothmeier.
Nine minutes into the period, Harmon Marien added his second goal of the game, flying past the goal and tucking the puck over the goalie’s shoulder after receiving the puck from Brady Snedden and Jack Rhode. Trey Zagrzebski beat a Pines defenseman during his run to the net, firing the puck past Polich to pull within two goals. Cole Beilke and Barrett Brooks assisted on the play.
Penalties lit up the scoreboard for the last two minutes with a cross-checking minor for Eli Haas followed shortly by Jack Brown getting sent to the box for hooking. A delayed five-minute major assessed to Tray Zagrzebski left Pines with a 4 on 3 advantage for the last minute of the period.
Right before the buzzer blew, the Eagles’ net-front presence paid off as Jack Rhode knocked the puck past the line for a 5-2 advantage for the home team as they went to the locker room. Brady Snedden and Sammy Spencer earned helpers on the play.
The third period was all Northland Pines as they tacked on four more goals to seal the win. Hunt scored a quick goal just over a minute after the first face-off, assisted by Gunnar Schiffmann and Jack Brown, followed by Brady Snedden adding another goal as the goalie was out of position less than a minute later. Harmon Marien was credited with an assist on the power-play tally.
SPASH coaches decided to change goalies as Landen Kawleski relieved Wierzba with fifteen minutes remaining in the game. Barrett Brooks rung a shot off of the cross bar but Pines was quick to take the puck back to the offensive zone. Jack Rhode capitalized on Harmon Marien’s rebound for his third goal of the night and his first hat-trick of the year.
Andrew Rothmeier capped off the game with a goal right through traffic on a late power-play opportunity. Noah Miller earned his third assist of the season on the play and Sammy Spencer earned his fourth point of the night after recording assists on the last two goals of the game.
The Eagles ran away with the game after a slow start for their first win against the Panthers since the 13-14 season, posting a 9-2 victory and improving their record to 4-1-0.
Northland Pines is on the road for the next three games with back to back games at Mosinee and Fond du Lac Springs this weekend followed by a conference tilt at Antigo December 19th. The Eagles return home December 21st against Rhinelander.