Halloween arrived early at the Willmar Civic Center Saturday night as the WarHawks hosted the Minnesota Loons. Pregame tricks and treats were had by all in attendance before the home team took care of business on the ice. When the final whistle blew the WarHawks were victorious 6-1.
Six different goal scorers helped the Willmar WarHawks (6-4-1-0) get back in the ‘win’ column after falling to the first place Granite City Lumberjacks on the road last week. Brady O’Brien kicked things off eight minutes into the game with his third tally of the season. Willmar dominated the entire opening frame, but the score remained 1-0 at intermission.
Goals came in a wave during the second with Ben Luedtke, Luke Johnson and Elbridge Dekraai all ringing the arena goal horn. Collin Kerchoff assisted on the Luedtke goal while O’Brien, Dekraai and Johnson were in on the two others.
Action in the third heated up quickly as a player from each team were whistled for roughing in the opening minute. That scenario repeated at the 7:45 mark and less than two minutes later the Loons scored their first of the game making it 4-1.
Marcus Mack restored the four-goal advantage at 13:44 before a pair of hockey fights followed in the aftermath. With both benches two men short the final five minutes were played without incident. Nolan Grier capped off scoring at 18:33 to secure the two point for Willmar.
Head coach Kirk Olimb was happy to get the win, but was left looking for more from his squad. “A win is a win,” comment Olimb. “We need to capitalize on more opportunities. Pinney played well.”
Goaltender Will Pinney stopped 23 of 24 shots faced to earn his second victory of the season.
The WarHawks have a busy week ahead as they have three games on the calendar starting Thursday night in Mason City. The team return to Willmar on Friday to host Granite City before a Saturday trip north to Breezy Point to again face the Loons.