Willmar WarHawks made the 60 mile drive north on Wednesday and rolled past the host Alexandria Blizzard winning 6-1. It was the third win in-a-row for Willmar (8-9-0-0) who currently reside in second place of the NA3HL West Division.
For the WarHawks, winners of six of their last seven games, winning has become contagious this week. The team returned to the ice after a 55-day layoff due to COIVD-19 restrictions as well as a holiday break and has soared since. During their three-game win streak Willmar has outscored opponents 17-4.
Newly added forward Tommy Raith got things going scoring his first in a WarHawks uniform in just his second game. Raith was to be a freshman on the St. Olaf (MIAC) roster before their season was put on hold. With the MIAC announcing seven-game regular season the 19-year old is competing in the NA3HL in lieu of using a year of college eligibility.
Mike Sweetland and Alex Kupka also scored in the opening frame to give Willmar a 3-0 advantage after one period. The pair would each score again before Alexandria broke up the shut out bid by Lukas Haugen at 6:01 of the third. Austin Jozwick scored the final WarHawks tally.
“The boys came out flying in the first,” said WarHawks Head Coach Kirk Olimb. “We carried that throughout for a solid win on the road.”
Haugen, a second-year goaltender from Southwest Christian High, finished the game with 29 saves earning his second victory in two starts.
The two-goal effort by Sweetland (21 points in 15 games played) has him leading the team with 11 goals. The rookie forward from Stillwater leads all West Division goal scorers. Only Jack Willis (four goals, 18 assists) has more points for Willmar.
“We had great goaltending throughout this streak,” added Olimb. “I’m excited to see where this team can go!”
Willmar will put their win-streak on the line Saturday in Mason City against the division leading North Iowa Bulls (12-4-0-0). Game time is scheduled for 7:30 PM.