Rapids scores early to knock off Neenah

Rapids scores early to knock off Neenah

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Rapids scores early to knock off Neenah

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After last playing 12 days ago, the Wisconsin Rapids hockey team was hoping it wouldn’t take too long to get back into the flow of a game.

With goals in the opening or closing moments of each period, the Raiders didn’t appear to be rusty, but rather well rested as they were able to build a sizable lead in beating Neenah 4-2 Thursday night at the South Wood County Recreation Center in the Rapids Holiday Tournament.

With the victory, Rapids will take on Tomah, which defeated Chippewa Falls 4-2, for the tournament title. The game is set to start at 4 p.m. today, while Neenah plays Chippewa Falls in the consolation game at 1:30 p.m.

“This was a typical game against Neenah,” Rapids coach Pat McDonald said. “They’re a real physical team, and I feel we responded well to that.”

The physical play was evident from the opening drop of the puck with both teams making hard hits and keeping much of the play in neutral ice.

But with just 15 seconds left in the opening period, the Raiders got on the board when Logan Zimmerman snared a pass from Caleb Schroer and beat Neenah goalie Austin Callahan in the top left corner of the goal for a 1-0 lead after the first period.

Rapids continued its strong play and added another goal just 1:59 into the second period when Luke Gause tapped in a loose puck at the top of the crease to boost the lead to 2-0. The Raiders added another goal nearing the end of the frame by Gage Simon for a 3-0 lead going into the final period of play.

“As we got to the end of the second period, our depth showed,” McDonald said. “They rotated with two lines when we used three to keep guys fresh and that showed late in the periods.”

Just 17 seconds into the third period, the Raiders capped off their scoring when Luc Kreuser tapped in a rebound to boost the lead to 4-0, but the Rockets were not about to pack it in.

Neenah was able to push across a pair of goals in the period, but was unable to make up the difference.

After defeating Neenah, Rapids’ sights quickly focused on Tomah, who is a potential opponent in the postseason and the outcome could impact the seeding in the playoffs.

“This game is important for playoff seeding purposes,” McDonald said. “We know what they do, and they know what we do, so this should be a very good game.”

Neenah 0 0 2 2
Wisconsin Rapids 1 2 1 4

First Period: 1. WR. Logan Zimmerman (Caleb Schroer) 16:45.

Second Period: 2. WR. Luke Gause (Gage Simon, Schroer) 1:59. 3. WR. Simon ( Casey Esselman) 13:04.

Third Period: 4. WR. Luc Kreuser (Blake Olinyk) :17. 5. N. Alec Herb 4:25 sh. 6. N. Paul Swannell (Herb) 16:05.

Saves: Neenah, Austin Callahan 7-3-10–20; Wisconsin Rapids, Tyler Gilbert 7-7-4–18.

Records: Wisconsin Rapids 7-2-0, Neenah 6-4-0.

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