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Lightning boys first in River Falls Invite

Kelli Engstrom/Kelli Engstrom Photography The Lightning boys pose with their first-place trophy after winning the Wildcat Hockey Tournament Saturday, Dec. 31.1 / 2
Kelli Engstrom/Kelli Engstrom Photography Northern Lakes' Max Tangen fires a shot against River Falls Saturday, Dec. 31.2 / 2

The Northern Lakes Lightning boys hockey game ended 2016 on a high note, capturing the championship trophy at the Wildcat Hockey Tournament in River Falls, Wisconsin.

They brought home the title after a 3-2 victory over the River Falls Wildcats Saturday, Dec. 31.

"Our guys played hard (throughout the tournament) and we got some good goaltending out of Matt (Stangel) and Jaeger (Reed)," coach Craig Larson said. "As a group, they played solid as a team. They were doing the little things, both offensively and defensively, that we need to do, so it was a fun weekend."

Josh Maucieri scored two goals for the Lightning.

"Josh had a fantastic weekend," Larson said. "He was the best player on the ice in both games."

Maucieri rallied the Lightning from a 2-1 deficit by scoring the game's last two goals—both unassisted—in the first five minutes of the final period. Drew Elfering scored the other NL goal which tied the game 1-1 in the first period.

Goalie Jaeger Reed stopped 24 of 26 shots for the Lightning who improved to 7-1-1 after their fifth straight victory.

"A lot of teams go throughout the course of the season and they have to push and work for the end of the year to get some recognition for their hard work," Larson said. "I think it is important to be recognized for your efforts if you are doing well and I think having a Christmas or New Year's Tournament with some sort of award as a group is something good to build on ... Those little rewards help through the season and kind of validates what you are working so hard for ... It helps with the guys' confidence, and that is important at the high school level."

River Falls 1 1 0—2

Northern Lakes 1 0 2—3

First period: RF-Wyatt Grundstrom 1:43; NL-Drew Elfering (Brendan Knox, Aaron Cable) 7:56

Second period: RF-Matt Miller (Grundstrom, Brandon Stocker) 3:28

Third period: NL-Josh Maucieri 0:51; NL-Maucieri 5:00

Shots on goal: NL 27, RF 26

Goalies: NL-Jaeger Reed (24 saves); RF-Jake Miller (24 saves)

Overall: NL 7-1-1.

Lightning 8, La Crescent 2

Josh Maucieri collected two goals and three assists for the Northern Lakes Lightning in their 8-2 victory over La Crescent, Wisconsin, in the first round of the tournament Friday, Dec. 30.

Garrett Westlund scored two goals and Drew Elfering, Brendan Knox and Max Tangen each registered one goal and one assist.

La Crescent 0 1 1—2

Northern Lakes 2 3 3—8

First period: NL-Garrett Westlund (Max Tangen, Drew Elfering) 13:24, NL-Brendan Knox (Josh Maucieri, Shane Donavon) 14:04

Second period: L-Jakob Masterson (Hayden Hoiness, Carter Schmitz) ppg 1:03, NL-Westlund 5:11, NL-Tangen (Maucieri, Brett Reed) ppg 6:35, NL-Maucieri shg 16:32

Third period: NL-Wyatt Kokesh (Maucieri) shg 4:19, L-Jory Danielson (Jake Hallback-Kettner) ppg 8:50, NL-Maucieri 12:30, NL-Elfering (Lucas Cartie, Knox) 15:37

Shots on goal: NL 14 10 15 - 39, L 11 8 12 - 31

Goalies: NL- Matt Stangel (29 saves); L- Connor Ernst (19 saves), Gavin Christianson (12 saves)

Dan Determan

Staff Writer for the Pineandlakes Echo Journal weekly newspaper.