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Wolverines top Becker/Big Lake for second straight win

Wadena-Deer Creek's Noah Stevens makes one of his 32 saves against Becker/Big Lake during the Wolverines' 5-3 victory over the Eagles. Jason Groth/Pioneer Journal1 / 2
Wadena-Deer Creek's Logan Robinson winds and fires from above the circle during the first period of Wadena-Deer Creek's 5-3 victory over Becker/Big Lakes. Jason Groth/Pioneer Journal2 / 2

Preston Warren and Justin Dykhoff each tallied twice, helping the Wadena-Deer Creek Wolverines win their home opener 5-3 over Becker/Big Lake in non-conference boys hockey at the Wadena Ice Arena on Dec. 1.

It was a battle between two teams that have shown the ability to put the puck away at an alarming rate in the early portion of the season. Becker/Big Lake scored 15 goals in their opener, while the Wolverines scored seven. However, it was the defense that came up when the Wolverines needed it in the third period.

Preston Warren skates in looking for a rebound

“I thought we played well overall. The flow was what happened with the penalties and we took more than I’d like to see us take,” Wadena-DC head coach Scott Woods said. “All-in-all, I thought we played pretty well.”

The Wolverine top line of Preston Warren, Max Phillips and Jake Dykhoff contributed in a big way. They combined for six points with three goals and three assists. Warren had two goals and an assist, while Phillips recorded a goal and an assist. Dykhoff finished with an assist as well.

“All three of them have a lot of speed. We could change some things and balance it out, but right now they are playing well,” Woods said. “I still think their chemistry can get better. There is still plenty of room for improvement as things go here and we have some nice depth behind them, too.”

The Wolverines built up a two-goal lead after two periods of play and relied on Noah Stevens to come up big in the third period. The junior netminder stopped 15 of 16 shots in the period, finishing with 29 saves on 32 shots in the win.

“He made some big saves when we really needed him and that’s the way you win games,” Woods said.

His counterpart, Zach Piehl, finished the game with 32 saves on 37 shots, suffering the loss for Becker/Big Lake.

Phillips and Aubrey Harfiel found the net in the opening period, but it was Wadena-DC, who broke it open in the second. Warren scored twice, one shorthanded, while Justin Dykhoff scored his first of two goals, helping the Wolverines to a 4-1 lead. Billy Braun cut the lead to two with a late goal.

Preston Warren and Jake Dykhoff lead a shorthanded rush

Justin Dykhoff’s second goal of the game opened the scoring in the third period. It was a nice insurance marker, giving the Wolverines a three-goal edge. Tyler Ruppelius countered with the final goal of the game for the Eagles, but they couldn’t erase the three-goal deficit against Stevens and the Wolverines.

BBL 1 1 1--3

WDC 1 3 1--5

Scoring

First Period

WDC- Max Phillips, ES, (Preston Warren)

BBL- Aubrey Hartfiel, SH, (unassisted)

Second period

WDC- Warren, ES, (Phillips, Jake Dykhoff)

WDC- Justin Dykhoff, ES, (Rylan Olson)

WDC- Warren, SH, (unassisted)

BBL- Billy Braun, ES, (Jaden Keo)

Third Period

WDC-Justin Dykhoff, PP, (Colby Schertler, Olson)

BBL-Tyler Ruppelius, ES, (Corbin Kollar, Hartfiel)

Jason Groth

 Groth is a Minnesota Newspaper Association award-winning Sports Editor of the Perham Focus and the Wadena Pioneer Journal. Groth worked in Grand Rapids as the Sports Director at KOZY/KMFY radio for two years and prior to that he was the Sports Editor/Writer for the Grand Rapids Herald-Review for seven years. 

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