Mullets’ Five Game Win Streak Stopped in Spooner, Team Returns Home for Series with Riverkings
By: Dan Bradley
SPOONER, WI -- As the Elton John song reminds us, “Saturday night’s alright for fighting;” it was a dogfight on the ice as well between the Minnesota Mullets and Wisconsin Muskies on Saturday, as the Mullets looked to continue a five game winning streak, while the Muskies looked to rebound from a Friday night loss which had ended a five game win streak of their own.
Mitch El-Wailli got things going for Wisconsin with the games first goal, scoring on the power play off a nice assist from Owen Leberknight. The Mullets appeared to answer with a shorthanded goal from Nate Holm, however the goal was overturned after a brief discussion among the officials, who determined Holm was offsides. With 2:20 remaining in the first period, a Tyler Chalupsky shot rang off the post, but Jon Hanen crashed the net on the rebound and buried his 4th of the year. At the end of the first period, things were all square, 1-1.
The second period was noticeably more physical than the first, although it did come with sloppier play. At the end of the second period, shots were 13-12 favoring the Mullets. Minnesota was able to score on one of their three power plays of the period, as Tommy Strelow fired a shot past Muskies goaltender James Brendeland (assisted by Holm and Hansen). After two periods of play, the Mullets led 2-1.
Special teams and goaltending ended were the keys to the third period, with Mason Lovich and Brendeland trading spectacular saves throughout the third. Penalties were costly for the Mullets as Wisconsin added a pair of power play goals late. Cory Kane tied the game at 2-2 (assists to Klatt and Shadick), and Mitch El-Wailli scored his second of the night (assisted by Klatt) to give the Muskies a 3-2 lead with 2:03 remaining in regulation. The Mullets pulled Lovich for an extra attacker, and a late penalty saw a 6-on-4 opportunity with six seconds remaining in regulation, but another Brendeland save sealed the win for the Muskies, final score 3-2. The teams combined for 28 penalty minute over the course of the game.
The loss dropped Minnesota to a record of 10-7-0 (20) on the season. The Muskies improved to a 7-9-2 (16) record. The Mullets sit at 4th in the Midwest West Division Standings, with the Muskies in 6th.
STARS OF THE GAME:
1. Mitch El-Wailli (Muskies): 2 PPG, GWG
2. James Brendeland (Muskies): 2GA, 19 Saves
3. Mason Lovich (Mullets): 3GA, 19 Saves
After a six game road stretch, the Mullets return home for the first time since October 20, for a two game series with the Wisconsin Rapids Riverkings, currently 3rd in the Division Standings and four points ahead of the Mullets. The Mullets will be hosting Youth Appreciation Weekend sponsored by North Branch Chevrolet. There will be many fun activities throughout the weekend, including mini games between periods, photo booth, and more to be announced later this week. Youth hockey players get in for free with a jersey and paid adult ticket. The Mullets will then hit the road Sunday for a showdown with the Steele County Blades.