Day 1 of the Minnesota NIT had the Team Wisconsin HP18 and Minnesota HP18 squaring off at Plymouth Ice Thursday afternoon looking for a good start to pool play.
The Minnesota 18s outshot Wisconsin 43-21 and used a hat trick from Tim Piechowski to get a 5-3 win.
Piechowski outscored Wisconsin on his own, scoring two goals in the first period alone to get Minnesota a 2-0 lead late in the period. That's when Wisconsin scored a late power play goal from Travis Kernen. He tapped in a rebound off a shot by Brockton Baker to make the score 2-1 after one period.
Wisconsin was able to hold the talented Minnesota team scoreless and got the game even at 2 on another power play goal. Jake Osiecki was able to get a shot toward the net which Sam Techel was able to redirect into the net for a tie game after two periods.
Minnesota came out in the third period and looked to wear down Wisconsin. They were able to force a turnover deep in the Wisconsin zone and once again Piechowski wrapped the puck around for the tie-breaking goal at 3-2.
Minnesota tacked on two more goals for a 5-2 lead with Wisconsin getting a goal from Andrew Malek with 12 seconds left for the 5-3 final.
In the game, TW goalie Garrett Larsen played very well in making 38 saves, while two Minnesota goalies combined for 18 saves in the win. The Wisconsin HP18s continue pool play on Friday with a game against Massachusetts at 2:15 pm.