The scoring woes continued for the Rhinelander High School boys' hockey team on Tuesday night. The Hodags outshot Marshfield 37-21 in a non-conference contest but lost 2-0 at the Marshfield Ice Arena.
Coach M.J. Laggis said Rhinelander had a plethora of scoring chances, but all of those scoring opportunities either ended up high, wide or were stopped by Tigers' goalie AJ Trierweiler, who recorded a 37-save shutout.
"Really, we were hitting everything but the back of the net," Laggis said. "We just can't get the biscuit in the basket at all. Boy, we had some pressure. Wow, were we pouring the pressure on it at times and really, really nice looks with their goalie in a scramble stance. Again, I don't know how else to say it, we hit everything but the back of the net."
The Hodags' problems were compounded by a slow start. Marshfield got on the board on an Even Weister goal at the 9:03 mark of the opening period and Nick Urban scored off an Adam Zee assist 3:45 into the second period to account for what proved to be the final margin.
"We're not playing winning hockey all over the rink for 51 minutes," Laggis said. "Our letups and points where we're not playing well really cost us. When we have a letdown, we get scored on. We don't live through those moments. We've got to play better all over the hockey rink for 51 minutes. There's no doubt about it."
It's been feast or famine for the Hodags (5-8-0, 2-3-0-0 Great Northern) during a skid that has seen the team drop six of its last eight games. Rhinelander scored 19 goals in the two wins over that span - both against an overmatched Tomahawk team. The Hodags have scored only eight times in the six losses and Tuesday's contest marked the first time Rhinelander has been shut out on the season.
"We work hard in our dryland area and we do a lot of scoring drills back there," Laggis said. "We put a lot of emphasis on it, but we're just not converting."
Seth Stafford made 19 saves in defeat for the Hodags.
Rhinelander has a week to prepare to take on Lakeland in a Great Northern Conference matchup this coming Tuesday in Minocqua. The Hodags defeated the T-Birds 6-3 in a non-conference game Nov. 26 in Rhinelander, but Lakeland has won eight of nine since, with their only loss in that stretch coming against GNC-leading Northland Pines. Lakeland has defeated Waupaca, Mosinee, Amery and Brookfield during that stretch, all teams Rhinelander has lost to in its current skid.
"They're playing really good hockey," Laggis said of the T-Birds. "One thing I notice them doing a really good job of is they take care of the puck and they don't throw the puck to bad areas. That's one thing we've got to shore up on our end that we're doing too much of. They've got one really big line that puts pucks in the net and they have an outstanding goalie in Collin Guelcher. We're going to be up against it. They're a much different team than the first time we played them."
Jeremy Mayo may be reached at email@example.com.
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