Four third-period goals power Wolverines to win
David Najjar scored two goals and Tyler Muehler iced his first of the season Tuesday as the Wadena-Deer Creek Wolverines snapped a four-game losing streak by beating Walker-Hackensack-Akeley 6-2 in Walker.
Dan Savoie saw his Wolverines erupt to score four third period goals in the victory but it was Muehler's addition to the offense that made the game memorable. The senior goalie has been one of the busiest netminders in Minnesota hockey this winter as the Wolverines wade through an "extreme" rebuilding year.
"He came to me and said 'would you mind if I play out?" Savoie said. "I thought about it and I double-checked the rules."
When Savoie was satisfied that the team was not violating any rules, he asked the players if they were OK with the switch. They gave the move a collective thumbs up.
"The morale has remained high in the locker room despite some of the shellackings we have taken," Savoie said. "I give my three captains credit for that."
Muehler got into the game with WDC holding a 3-1 lead. He had a couple of good scoring chances before he put away a power play goal at the 16:29 mark of the final period. One potential goal actually hit Muehler's skate, raising questions among his teammates about whether or not Muehler was still playing goalie.
Savoie got a kick out of one of Muehler's comments as he finished a shift on the ice.
"He came back and said 'I'm beat!'" Savoie said.
Najjar and Taylor Bienusa scored first period goals for the Wolverines after Zach Strandie gave the Wolves an early 1-0 lead. Najjar was set up for his goal by Oliver Purup. Bienusa poked a shot into the net unassisted.
The two clubs skated to a scoreless second period but the Wolverines held an 11-4 advantage in shots on goal.
The third period fireworks started with Najjar finding the net at the 2:09 mark. Purup racked up his second assist on the goal and Logan Meyer notched his first.
After Brandyn Swanson extended WDC's lead to 3-1 with an unassisted goal at 7:52, Meyer scored a power play goal at the 9:12 mark. Strandie broke up WDC's scoring string with a short-handed goal at 15:49. Muehler's power play shot was set up by Bienusa and Kyle Beiswenger.
The Wolverines dominated the third period shooting 18-3.
Dylan Isola did the job in the net for WDC as he stopped 11 shots. Micah Bank kicked out 37 shots for the Wolves.
The Wolves were whistled for seven penalties with Strandie being tagged with three. The Wolverines were penalized just three times.
Tuesday's match was the second of five straight road games for the Wolverines, who are now 4-13.
WDC 6, WHA 2
WDC 2 0 4 - 6
WHA 1 0 1 - 2
WHA: Zach Strandie (Keaton Pederson, Cody Bixby) 2:27
WDC: David Najjar (Oliver Purup) 9:29
WDC: Taylor Bienusa (unassisted) 13:52
WDC: Najjar (Logan Meyer, Purup) 2:09
WDC: Brandyn Swanson (unassisted) 7:52
WDC: Meyer (unassisted) 9:12 PP
WHA: Strandie (unassisted) 17:49 SH
WDC: Tyler Muehler (Bienusa, Kyle Beiswenger) 16:29 PP
Dylan Isola (WDC) 11; Micah Bank (WHA) 37
Kittson Central 5, WDC 1
Trenton Wollenburg's second period goal was the limit of the damage the Wolverines could do Saturday as they fell to Kittson Central.
Taylor Bienusa set up Wollenburg for his goal.
Alex Chaput stopped nine shots to gain the victory in goal for the Bearcats.
WDC's Tyler Muehler kicked out 41 shots.
Craig Lindegard came up with a hat trick for Kittson Central while Markas Dahl and Nathan Youngren iced power play goals. Dahl also added two assists.
Kittson Central 5,
Wadena-Deer Creek 1
KC 4 1 0 - 5
WDC 0 1 0 - 1
KC: Craig Lindegard (Markas Dahl) :39
KC: Dahl (Lindegard, Jeff Bergh) 6:06 PP
KC: Nathan Youngren (Tyler Hultgren) PP
KC: Lindegard (Dahl, Gabe Montoya) 10:24
WDC: Trenton Wollenburg (Taylor Bienusa) :31
KC: Lindegard (unassisted) 12:37
Alex Chaput (KC) 9; Tyler Muehler (WDC) 41
Park Rapids 6, WDC 0
The Panthers peppered the WDC goal with 51 shots in gaining a regular season sweep over the Wolverines.
Tucker Coborn iced two goals as the Panthers jumped out to a 3-0 first period lead by putting 19 shots on goal in the first period.
Ian Johnson, Levin Erickson, Kyle Kanten and Jared Naeve backed Coborn up with solo goals.
Dylan Isola stopped eight of the nine Park Rapids shots he faced. Tyler Muehler stopped 37 of 42 shots. Ryan O'Mara blocked seven shots in gaining Park Rapids' third shutout of the season.
Park Rapids 6, WDC 0
Park Rapids 3 2 1 - 6
WDC 0 0 0 - 0
PR: Tucker Coborn (Levi Erickson) 4:31
PR: Coborn (Erickson, Kevin McMorrow) 6:20
PR: Ian Johnson (Sam Coborn) 12:44
PR: Levi Erickson (A.J. May, T. Coborn) 1:00
PR: Kyle Kanten (Johnson, T. Coborn) 4:56
Jared Naeve (S. Coborn) 13:45
Ryan O'Mara (KC) 7; Dylan Isola (WDC) 8, Tyler Muehler (WDC) 37