Superior rallies past River FallsTwo goals apiece from Mikel and Miller help Spartans win WIAA tournament opener
The Superior High School boys hockey team scored five unanswered goals to defeat the River Falls Wildcats 5-2 in a WIAA regional game Thursday night at Wessman Arena.
Despite outshooting the Wildcats 29-10 through two periods, the Spartans found themselves trailing 1-0 after the first period and 2-1 after the second.
Helping the Wildcats surprise the No. 1 seeded Spartans was goaltender Corbin Renslow, who finished the game with 40 saves. Superior junior goaltender Paxton Paine had 14 saves.
Trailing 2-0, the Spartans cut River Falls’ lead in half with 5:57 left in the second period when Daniel Mikel skated in from the right boards and beat Renslow with a wrist shot from inside the right circle. Aaron Miller and Jesse Polson helped out on Mikel’s ninth goal of the season.
Superior tied the game up seconds into the third period when Polson beat Renslow with a slap shot from the left point. Tyler Nystrom and Aaron Wakefield-Zubiate assisted on the goal that came on a power play that carried over from the first period.
The Spartans took a 3-2 lead when Miller took a centering pass from Mikel and blasted a one-timer past Renslow from the slot. Grant Hanson also helped out on Miller’s team-leading 30th goal of the season.
It went to 4-2 with around five minutes remaining when Miller knocked a Wildcat player off the puck behind the net and centered to Mikel, who scored on a one-timer from the slot.
Miller sealed the victory with an empty-net goal.
The Wildcats scored the only goal of the first period when Austin Manglitz’ shot from the slot got past two sliding Spartan defenders and beat Paine. Billy and Casey Jerry assisted on the freshman’s goal 8:10 into the first period.
After several good scoring chances early in the second period for Superior, River Falls took a 2-0 lead on its first shot on goal when Casey Jerry skated into the offensive zone and beat Paine with a wrist shot from between the circles.
Superior will next host New Richmond at 7 p.m. Tuesday. The Tigers advanced with a 5-3 win over Amery. The Spartans defeated New Richmond during the regular season 5-4 in overtime at home on Dec. 8.
River Falls 1-1-0—2
First Period: 1. RF, Austin Manglitz (Billy Jerry, Casey Jerry), 8:10.
Second Period: 2. RF, C. Jerry (Sam Shafer), 3:01. 3. SHS, Daniel Mikel 9 (Aaron Miller 33, Jesse Polson 11), 11:03.
Third Period: 4. SHS, Polson 2 (Tyler Nystrom 17, Aaron Wakefield-Zubiate 31), 0:25 (pp). 5. SHS, Aaron Miller 30 (Mikel 3, Grant Hanson 6), 9:07. 6. SHS, Mikel 10 (Miller 34), 12:57. 7. SHS, Miller 31, 16:45 (en).
Saves: Corbin Renslow, RF 12-16-12—40. Paxton Paine, SHS 4-4-6—14.