VADNAIS HEIGHTS — Three power play goals and a shorthanded tally paved the way for White Bear Lake’s 6-1 Suburban East Conference boys’ hockey victory over Stillwater on Tuesday at the Vadnais Sports Center.
The loss was the fourth in a row for the Ponies (4-6-1 SEC, 7-8-1), who had won four straight prior to that — including a 9-1 victory over conference leading Mounds View. Injuries and the departure of one its top players to the USHL haven’t halped, but untimely penalties have also played a role — especially with the Bears scoring three times with an extra skater on Tuesday.
Thomas Delaney and Alex Bocchi each scored during a five-minute power play in the first period to grab a 2-0 lead and Bocchi scored again with just 1:27 remaining in the period for a three-goal advantage.
“With the depleted lineup, I thought we played a pretty good game, even though the score said differently,” Ponies coach Phil Housley said. “They had 17 shots and they capitalized on their opportunities. It wasn’t like we gave up a lot of shots, but we weren’t getting the puck to the net as much as we needed to.”
The Bears (6-3-1, 8-7-1) continued to find the back of the net while tacking on three more goals in the second period, including another power play goal from Jake Wahlin at 5:24 and Delaney’s scoring his second goal while shorthanded at 12:29. Wyatt Newpower then scored a rare even-strength goal at 15:39 to push the lead to 6-0.
The game was out of reach, but the Ponies turned their focus to winning the third period and Brandon Jungmann delivered Stillwater’s loen goal with less than three minutes remaining. Stillwater outshot the Bears 8-1 in the third period.
“All these games are going to be a battle and we have to do some soul searching and find out a way to get the job done,” Housley said. “With guys being out of the lineup, we have to keep the game very simple.”
In addition to injuries that have sidelined Wyatt Stotts, Zach Fedie and Tyler Fitzsimmons, the Ponies will also be playing without senior captain Nick Anderson for Thursday’s game at Woodbury following a checking from behind game misconduct penalty in the first period against the Bears, which brings with it an automatic one-game suspension.
The Ponies have fallen out of the conference race, but will have plenty of opportunities to move up over the final three weeks of the regular season.
“Other guys are getting opportunities now and we’re finding out a lot about our team,” Housley said. “They’re getting experience, which is a positive thing.”
n Jake Wittl scored late in the third period to provide the difference in Stillwater’s victory over the Bears on Tuesday. The Ponies improved to 13-1-2 on the eseason.
Stillwater 0 0 1 — 1
White Bear Lake 3 3 0 — 6
First period — 1. WBL, Thomas Delaney (Jake Wahlin) pp, 9:44; 2. WBL, Alex Bocchi (A.J. Welch, Ben Wilke) pp, 13:15; 3. WBL, Bocchi (Tommy Giller, Wahlin) 15:33.
Second period — 4. WBL, Wahlin (Delaney) pp, 5:24; 5. WBL, Delaney (Bocchi) sh, 12:29; 6. WBL, Wyatt Newpower (Wilke) 15:39.
Third period — 1. St, Brandon Jungmann (Zach Eder-Zdechlik) 14:19.
Penalties — St, 4-11:00; WBL, 7-14:00.
Saves — St (Colton Anderson) 4-3-x—7 and Pat Courteau x-3-1—4; WBL (Chase Gorman) 6-5-7—18.