The Menomonie Mustang hockey team has started its season off on the right foot — winning their first two games before falling by just one goal in overtime for their first loss during a weekend tournament in Amery.

The tournament followed the Mustangs’ 7-4 season-opening victory over Regis/Altoona McDonell last Tuesday, and after going 1-1 in Amery, first year coach Matt Ellis said these first few games have been a great start to the season.

“Baldwin is a hard-hitting, tough opponent that we will see in regionals,” he said. “We started off the season with a good win over a good R/A/M team that beat us last year, so a two and one start, that’s a good way to start our season.”

During the Amery tournament, the Mustangs (2-1) first used a strong third period to secure a 5-3 victory over the Amery Warriors on Friday.

Zach Demarce scored two goals for the Mustangs, to take a 2-1 lead over the Warriors heading into the third period. His first goal came at 13:22 of the first period with an assist from Cole Mensing. Amery evened the score at 7:04 of the second period, but Demarce brought the Mustangs back up at 11:32. Demarce’s second goal was assisted by Trent Weber.

The Warriors acted quickly in the third period, knotting the game 2-2 at 1:11.

However, Menomonie jumped up 4-2 with unassisted goals from Carter Davidson at 5:19 and Brigs Richartz just seconds later at 5:51.

Though the Warriors narrowed their lead to 4-3 at 8:58, they left the net empty and a shorthanded Mustang team capitalized as Mensing scored his first goal of the game right at the buzzer with an assist from Davidson.

Jacob Brown tended the net for Menomonie and came up with 17 saves. Menomonie outshot Amery 11-5 in the first period, 14-7 in the second and 12-8 in the third.

Mustangs drop to Blackhawks in OT

On Saturday, the Mustangs and the Blackhawks put on a fireworks show, as the game spilled over into overtime where the ‘Hawks turned up as victors with a 5-4 win and handing Menomonie their first loss of the season.

Menomonie dominated the first period with three separate skaters scoring goals to take a 3-0 lead heading into the second.

Konner Rowan took advantage of a Mustang power play and scored at 7:53 with assists from Davidson and Nate Frank. Just seconds after the Blackhawks got back to full strength, Miller found the back of the net at 8:13 with an assist from Ryan Sisko.

A late first period goal at 14:43 from Mensing, assisted by Frank, set the Mustangs at a 3-0 advantage.

The Blackhawks weren’t going home without a fight. They got on the board at 5:39 into the second period on a power play goal by Landon Albrightson, followed by an even strength goal at 10:58 by Patrick Cieslak to make it a one goal game.

A few minutes later, Mensing scored again to bump Menomonie up 4-2, but the Blackhawk’s Zac Holme scored the last goal of the second period to put the Mustangs on their heels heading into the final period.

At 6:19 in the third, the Blackhawk’s Albrightson scored the only goal of the period to tie it up and force the match into overtime, where the ‘Hawks were the team to find the back of the net and the goal they needed to take the win away from the Mustangs.

Brown spent all his game minutes in front of the net and came up with 26 saves. The Blackhawks outshot the Mustangs 12-8 in the first period, 15-5 in the second, 2-6 in the third and 2-1 in overtime, for a shot total of 31-20.

Menomonie begins conference play with an away game at Chippewa Falls Thursday, before returning home to host Black River Falls on Saturday.

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Dunn County News reporter

Laura covers local/prep sports as well as school-related and general news in Dunn County. She joined The Dunn County News in October 2016. She can be contacted directly at laura.giammattei@lee.net or (715) 279-6721.

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