Shawano falls to Waupaca after allowing last four goals

Dillenburg, Wegenke net goals for Hawks

Greg Bates Leader Correspondent

Leader photo by Carol Ryczek Shawano goalie Caleb Davids deflects an attempt to score by Waupaca’s Evan Saunders in Tuesday night’s loss to Waupaca at the Crawford Center in Shawano.

After winning the Waupaca tournament on Dec. 29, the Shawano varsity reserve hockey team was riding high.

Following a 10-day layoff from game action, though, the Hawks were out of sync in their first game back against Waupaca at the Crawford Center on Tuesday.

After tying the game at 2-2 in the first period, Shawano managed just six shots in the final two periods as Waupaca tallied a 6-2 victory.

The long stretch off caught up to the Shawano skaters.

“I think that’s our biggest thing, it especially showed in the first half of the first period,” said Shawano coach Garrett Smith, whose team didn’t get off its first shot until over eight minutes into the game. “We just weren’t connecting. When you’ve only got 13 guys showing up at practice, it’s hard to get a good game flow for any length of time.”

The second and third periods were tough for the Hawks.

“We slowed down a lot,” Shawano sophomore Ryan Wegenke said. “Not a lot of hitting went on, and not a lot of offense was played well. On the defensive side, we couldn’t break it outside of the zone.”

“A lot of the puck bounces didn’t go our way,” Shawano junior Johnathan Dillenburg said. “If we just continue to play like a team, pass, cycle in the zone, get off shots at goalies, then they’ll start dropping in the net.”

Shawano (6-3-1) and Waupaca have been familiar foes early in the season. The two teams faced off three times prior to Tuesday with Shawano winning all three games. However, Waupaca, playing with its junior varsity team, used some varsity players in the lineup on Tuesday.

Waupaca dominated the first 8:30 of the opening period with a pair of goals, one on a power play.

Shawano took advantage when Waupaca was whistled for a penalty. Faith Lammers, a freshman defender, put a shot on net and it was redirected for a power play goal by Dillenburg to make it 2-1.

Two minutes later, Wegenke ripped a wrist shot past the goalie stick side to tie the game. Senior Samuel Rusch got the assist on the tally.

“I was working with my speed and found an opening in the D,” Wegenke said. “Everyone was shifting to the right, so I knew that everyone would be shifting to the right, so then I shot toward the left post and I got it where I wanted it to go.”

The two quick goals gave Shawano the spark it needed, going into the first intermission tied at two.

“We just started chasing the puck better and playing as a team,” Smith said. “We struggled to get our movements right and we weren’t working real well together. We couldn’t seem to find each other on the ice today.”

When it seemed as though the two teams would be going into the third period still tied, Waupaca broke the game open with two goals in a span of 1 minute, 36 seconds late in the second.

While Shawano struggled to get the puck out of its own end in the third, Waupaca tallied two more goals.

“It was hard to watch 30-plus minutes of hockey with no production,” Smith said.

Wegenke said the key to generating more consistent offense is to shoot the puck whenever there’s a chance.

“Every time we shot, we saw some pretty good rebounds and that could have given us more opportunities,” Wegenke said. “I missed a wide open one.”

Dillenburg doesn’t think it’s all the offense’s fault for the lack of scoring.

“I think we were very lacking on defense,” Dillenburg said. “There were a few players that fell short in their defensive assignments, and that led to a lot of goals.”

It didn’t help that Shawano was whistled for three penalties and Waupaca scored two power play goals.

Waupaca 6, Shawano 2

First period

W: Braeden Ryan, 3:32.

W: Sawyer Mielke (Ty Seefeldt, Ryan), 6:36.

S: Johnathan Dillenburg (Faith Lammers), 10:14.

S: Ryan Wegenke (Samuel Rusch), 12:10.

Second period

W: Jayce Koshollek (Vin Nikolai, Jed Vandenbush), 12:20.

W: Mielke, 13:57.

Third period

W: Aiden Kossow (Liam Dezurik-Otto), 7:32.

W: Mielke (Max Gusmer), 13:27.