Waupaca hockey earns conference wins
Comets beat Lakeland, Rhinelander
By Greg Seubert
Great Northern Conference wins are starting to add up for the Waupaca boys’ hockey team.
The Comets improved to 5-0 in conference play with recent wins over Lakeland and Rhinelander. Waupaca scored five unanswered goals Dec. 22 in a 5-1 win over Lakeland at the Waupaca Ice & Expo Center one day after handing Rhinelander a 6-1 defeat on the Hodags’ home rink.
Waupaca 5, Lakeland 1
Connor Nicklaus gave the Thunderbirds a 1-0 lead in the first period, but Davis Levine tied the game with the first of his two goals.
Cody Rasmussen gave the Comets the lead for good with the only goal of the second period.
The Comets added to their lead with third-period goals from Jack Erspamer, Levine and Jack Menzies.
The Comets outshot the Thunderbirds 45-22 and improved to 9-1-1 overall and 5-0 in the Great Northern.
Lakeland came into the game with a 2-5 record that included losses in the Thunderbirds’ first four Great Northern games.
“They’re much better than their record shows,” coach John Erspamer said. “They gave us everything we could handle. They have good goaltending and they can move the puck well. That was a tight game, just like it has been for most of their games throughout the season.”
The Comets returned to the ice less than 24 hours after returning from Rhinelander.
“I thought we had a pretty good hop in our step,” Erspamer said. “This was really the first time that we played a really good goaltender (in Collin Guelcher). We’re used to coming down in the last three or four games where one shot and it’s in. We said we had to take his eyes away. When he can see, he stopped it most of the time. It’s when he took his eyes away that we got the goals.”
Waupaca 6, Rhinelander 1
Menzies had an assist to go along with his hat trick.
The Comets took a 2-0 lead into the second period on goals from Eli Bartel and Menzies and made it 4-0 in the second on Menzies’ second goal and another from Mitchell Trzebiatowski. Hunter Hicks scored for Rhinelander to cut the lead to 4-1, but Menzies completed his hat trick in the period before Trzebiatowski completed the scoring in the third period.
Waupaca outshot the Hodags 47-29.
The Comets are hosted Pacelli, Whitefish Bay and West Bend for a four-team tournament Dec. 27-29 at the Expo and will resume conference play at 5 p.m. Friday, Jan. 4, against Mosinee at the K.B. Willett Ice Arena in Stevens Point in the opening round of the Community Parks Hockey Classic.