After a rough start to their NA3HL season which saw the Willmar Willmar win just two of their first 10 games, the team has settled in and become a contender in the West Division. The WarHawks (11-10-0-0) have won nine of their past 11 games and current sit in second place in the division standings.
Saturday night marked a milestone in Willmar as the team posted a 6-0 victory over the Alexandria Blizzard. It was the first shutout since February 9, 2018 when Luke Fry stopped all 21 shots faced in a 7-0 win over the Rochester Ice Hawks.
Goaltender Will Pinney, who joined the WarHawks in January after beginning the season on the St. Cloud Norsemen (NAHL) roster, was a bit busier than Fry making 33 saves to post his first Junior hockey shutout.
“First shutout for the organization in three years,” said a thrilled coach Kirk Olimb. “Gotta love that! Was a solid team win and the boys have been rolling.”
Pinney, a 2020 graduate of St. Louis Park High School, has a 3-1 record in four starts with Willmar. His 1.51 GAA and stellar .949 save% would be among the league leaders if qualified for minutes played.
Ethan Light scored the only goal Willmar would need just 3:42 into the game. Jeremiah Konkel picked up the first of two assists on the night. Later in the period Cole Wigestrand made it 2-0 with his sixth of the season.
Light would score a second just :33 after the second period puck drop before Isaiah Thomas and Michael Sweetland lit the lamp give the WarHawks a commanding 5-0 advantage after 27 minutes of play in the game.
Lewis Rowan scored the lone goal of the third to cap off the home win, their sixth in the past seven games.
Olimb commented on his current team saying, “great attitudes and effort, which leads to success. Love this group. Playing like we have something to prove!”
The WarHawks next face a mid-week matchup with the New Ulm Steel this Wednesday.