Tanor Ecklund just couldn’t find the net.
He had multiple opportunities to give the Wolves a 2-0 lead over the Berlin Indians, but he just couldn’t do it.
Finally, he got the one to go.
Ecklund’s goal in the 61st minute gave the Wolves all the cushion they needed, as they beat the Indians 2-0 in Winneconne in an Eastern Valley Conference match on Tuesday.
“It felt good,” Ecklund said. “The heat it kind of got to us, but it felt good to finally put one in.”
Ecklund’s goal came at a crucial time in the match. The Indians had finally started putting some sustained pressure on the Wolves coming out of halftime that resulted in more than one decent chance for Berlin.
The best one came in the 52nd minute when Alex Vang kicked a low skipper to the left side that was stopped by the fingertips of Winneconne keeper Jack Litjens to keep the score at 1-0.
“It likely would’ve made a difference,” Berlin coach Don Demick said. “1-1 instead of 1-0. That’s the kind of thing that changes the game and pumps you up. Instead it’s the reverse.”
Then came a water break due the hot conditions — the heat index was around 100 all game — around the 60th minute.
That’s when Ecklund went on a long run with Oliver Wallschlaeger in the middle of the field. Wallschlaeger put a nice pass to Ecklund’s feet and he slide kicked it past Berlin keeper Kollin McGregor to make it 2-0 Wolves in the 61st minute.
“It was huge,” Winneconne coach Luis Sayavedra said. “You can’t give life to someone else. I was worried because we were missing so many goals that they (Berlin) were going to get one.”
Berlin was unable to mount any charge after the goal, which seemed to be a backbreaker of sorts for the Indians.
The game was close throughout. Winneconne took the lead on a indirect free kick that was blasted into the goal by Wallschlaeger at exactly eight minutes.
Then the contest went back and forth for a bit. A cross from Berlin’s Ryan Sondalle couldn’t find it’s way in or off a head of an Indian player in the 20th minutes.
Then Winneconne’s Andrew Zolp sent a blast in that was pushed aside by Berlin’s Pete Bruce-Allington just a couple minutes later.
“We really couldn’t just get one in,” Ecklund said. “It was tough.”
But Winneconne was happy to come away with a win.
“It wasn’t easy,” Sayavedra said. “A win is a win and it’s going to build their confidence.”
Jack Litjens made two saves in net to record the shutout for Winneconne, while Bruce-Allington and McGregor combined for 18 saves to keep Berlin close.
“One or the other will be the main keeper,” Demick said. “They are both excellent players. They are ready to go.”
Berlin’s young squad put up a solid fight on Tuesday. Demick hopes that they can stay after it.
“We are moving people around,” he said. “Practice is going to be important.”
Winneconne was glad they got a win to start their conference season and, hopefully, it can propel them to a nice season.
“It’s really important,” Sayavedra said of the win. “The idea for today was win. We want to look better, but we won.”
Berlin …0 0 — 0
Winneconne… 1 1 — 2
First half: WINN — Oliver Wallschlaeger (Andrew Zolp), 8:00.
Second half: WINN — Tanor Ecklund (Wallschlaeger), 61:06.
Saves: BER (Pete Bruce-Allington and Kollin McGregor) 18, WINN (Jack Litjens) 2.