The Wildcats take a hit

Tri City Junior Storm took down Millard West in a heated hockey matchup


Jennifer Sheldon

The Wildcats have had a difficult season so far but have grown as a team overall and believe they will finish out strong. They hope to gain more experience through their games and work to improve themselves throughout the remainder of the season. “We expect some wins in future games, but it is more important for us to develop as a team,” Kriha said. “If we communicate better and give 110 percent every time we step on the ice, we will start to see improvement.”

Garrett Wilcoxen, Staff Reporter

On Sunday, December 13, the Millard West Hockey team took on Tri City Junior Storm at a crucial point in their season. 

The Wildcats have had a difficult schedule throughout the first half of their season. Going into the game, Millard West had a record of 4-6. They had lost to Millard North, Westside, Millard South, Elkhorn and Fremont twice. Although the Wildcats lost these games, the margins were all within two goals with the exception of the Millard North game. The Wildcats won their first game against Omaha Metro and then three more against Creighton Prep, Millard North and Capitals East.

The game started off with the Wildcats taking the puck down the ice fast. With 10 minutes left in the 1st period, junior Calvin Halverson scored a goal. Soon after this, the Wildcats had another chance to put the puck in the net, but missed the opportunity. Moving on from this attempt, the Wildcats lost the puck and the Storm got control. This led to a Tri City goal scored by Austin Fish which was assisted by Riley Grieser.

“We were positioned well in the first period, but we needed to stretch the ice out more while breaking out of our zone,” senior Carter James said. “The little things like penalties and just working on our footing can help us make a run for a playoff spot and bring home some hardware.”

Almost two minutes after Storm’s goal, they obtained the puck again and were given an opportunity to make something happen. With a swift move on the ice, Caden Peterson put the puck in the net for Tri City, making the score 2-1 Storm lead. Less than two minutes after this goal, Tri City’s Chance Fuller made a pass to Peterson which proceeded to score again. This goal ended the period with a score of 3-1.

“I think we need to improve our quickness in passes, shots and follow ups,” junior Sam Marrinan said. “With these improvements, at the end of the year I see us as the best in the league. I believe we have the ability to be the number one team and I think we just need the drive to get there.”

The second period started off slower than the first, but there were still many crucial moments for the Wildcats to score. Unfortunately, these chances were all terminated by Hadley Cress, the Storm’s goalie, and mistakes by the Wildcats. With seven minutes left in the period, James scored a goal for Millard West making it a one score lead by the Storm. The last goal of the game was scored in the second period with just over six minutes to go. Max McBride hit a powerful shot assisted by Grieser creating a two goal lead for Tri City. This goal was the last one made in the match, ending it with a score of 4-2 and Tri City Junior Storm defeating the Wildcats.

“We need to cut the tripping, hooking and unsportsmanlike conduct from our gameplay,” junior Clayton Kriha said. “The constant penalties our team accumulates is affecting our gameplay when we have 4v5 situations, and if we decrease the amount of time players spend in the box, it will help our teams overall performance.”

Another highlight in the game was Tri City’s Grieser who had the most assists for either team in the match. Along with this, Wildcat’s Boston Mansheim got an assist and Halverson scored his second goal of the season.

The Wildcats will face off against Papillon on Sunday, December 20 and Elkhorn on December 21. These games will be held at Peter Moylan IcePlex and Baxter Arena, so show up and support the team.