The Rhinelander High School boys' hockey team could not match Ashwaubenon's physicality on Saturday night.
Kole Altergott scored twice, and Teig Driessen added three assists, as the Jaguars defeated the Hodags 7-1 at the Cornerstone Community Center in Green Bay.
The Hodags trailed 4-1 after one period, gave up two goals in the second and one more in the third as they were outshot 41-16 in the contest.
"It was a rough one. We didn't play very well, for sure," coach M.J. Laggis said. "We got into penalty trouble and that didn't help us at all. We had trouble moving their guys out from the front of our net. They had big bodies in front of our net. We just really weren't able to deal with that very well and did not play very well in our own end as a team."
Ashwaubenon's physicality led to a penalty-laden game. The teams combined for 16 penalties and 43 penalty minutes in the contest.
"Ashwaubenon is a really physical team. They had hands up, sticks up in the face," Laggis said. "They had a lot of stuff they didn't get called and, when you're playing like that against us and it doesn't get called, it knocked us off our game completely. That's for sure. We didn't deal with the adversity very well as a group. We really struggled tonight. We've got to try to stay positive and get better."
The difference was Ashwaubenon capitalized on the power play while the Hodags did not. The Jaguars finished 4 of 5 on the power play, including a trio of goals in the first period with the man advantage. Rhinelander was 0 for 8 on the power play.
Kaden Appleton got things going on the power play to put Ashwaubenon on the board 6:03 into the contest. Altergott and Cooper Routheau added power-play goals later in the first period as the Jaguars took a three-goal lead. Riley Nissen added a power play goal midway through the second that made it 5-1.
"Their power play, it was nothing special, but they just got the puck to the net and that's all they had to do," Laggis said. "They had a body in front of the net and we were unable to move that. It was partially getting screened and partially we were unable to stop it."
Junior Harlan Wojtusik continued his strong start to the season. He ran his scoring streak to four straight games to start the year and recorded his ninth goal of the season 7:51 into the first period, which brought Rhinelander to within 2-1.
"That guy's been all over the puck and doing a lot of good things for us," Laggis said. "He had a goal, the goal itself maybe wasn't fantastic, but it's the continual (theme) of him getting pucks to the net. Him making big plays and getting pucks to the net. There's a guy that shows up to play every single day. He's got good hands and can score goals. He's gives it every shift. He doesn't take a shift off. I was really proud of that about him."
Vincent Strachan tacked on a goal later in the second period to make it 6-1 and Griffin Kornowski made it 7-1 on a goal with 3:17 remaining in the game. Seth Stafford stopped 34 pucks in defeat for Rhinelander while Lincoln Simons had 15 saves for Ashwaubenon.
Rhinelander (2-2-0, 0-1-0-0 Great Northern) returns to action tonight at Medford in a Great Northern Conference contest.
Jeremy Mayo may be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.
The Northwoods River News | Walker Communications, LLC 232 S. Courtney Street, Rhinelander, WI 54501 | Office (715) 365-6397 | Fax (715) 365-6361
Corporate billing office: The Lakeland Times / Lakeland Printing Inc. | P.O. Box 790, Minocqua, WI 54548 | (715) 356-5236 | Fax (715) 358-2121 Members of the Wisconsin Newspaper Association, Wisconsin Community Papers, Rhinelander Area Chamber of Commerce, Minocqua Area Chamber of Commerce