Facing tough competition, River Lakes boys lose two

This article submitted by Kurt Habben on 12/8/98.

The River Lakes Stars lost 8-6 to Annandale/Maple Lake on Tuesday, Dec. 1, at the National Hockey Center in St. Cloud.

The game turned out to be a high scoring affair, much to the surprise of Kevin Mooney, the head coach for the Stars.

ďI was worried going into the game about our offense, but we put points up on the board,Ē said Mooney.

The game started off well for the Stars. Sophomore veteran Bret Theisen scored the gameís first goal, powering a rebound into the net. Brad Koultes then increased the lead moments later with a nice goal.

Annandale/Maple Lake managed to get within one goal before the first period ended on a controversial call. The Stars had a delayed penalty and the official was waiting for the Stars to gain control of the puck before the penalty could be assessed. The Stars believed they had gained control of the puck, but before the officials stopped play for the penalty, Annandale/Maple Lake scored from the point.

The second period was a wild one. With a 5 on 3 playing condition due to two penalties to start the period, the Stars offensive hopes diminished. The period ended with a 5-4 River Lake advantage, but the lead went back and forth. Jeremy Curran, Dustin Looman, and Koultes all scored in the period. Loomanís goal was particularly exciting, a slapshot from the blue line that the goalie didnít even react to.
The crucial third period was where the Stars lost their edge. Looman added another goal to increase the lead to two, but it proved not to be enough. Before the Stars knew it, Annandale/Maple Lake scored four goals, vanquishing all hopes of a season opening victory.

ďItís disappointing that we lost, but we gained many positive things from the game. Our offense proved we could fore-check well enough to keep the play in the offensive zone,Ē said captain Curran.

Stars: 2 3 1 -6
Ann/ML: 1 3 4 -8

On Saturday, Dec. 5, the Stars played their first home game of the year against Moundsview, a talented AA team.

The score reflected the size and strength of each program. Moundsview easily won the game 12-0, dominating the entire game.

The game started off very badly for the Stars, with Moundsview scoring on their first opportunity. The goal started a barrage of shots on Manthei throughout the night. The score after the first period was 6-0.

When the Stars went into the locker-room after the first period, they had lost more than just the period. Defenseman Eric Hartfiel and forward Dustin Looman both went to the Paynesville Area Hospital emergency room with injuries to their hands. Neither suffered a broken bone, so both should be back for the Stars next game.

The absence of those two players made big holes in the game plan for coach Mooney. For Loomanís spot, a considerably less imposing Brinky filled in. Much to Brinkyís credit, he played well in relief. Three junior varsity defensemen filled in for Hartfiel and all three did very well against such a talented team.

Although he let in 21 goals, Manthei played a good game. He ended up facing 73 shots during the game, stopping 63. Over half the goals scored on him came from second and third attempts by Moundsview, which any goalie would have a hard time stopping.

Penalties hampered the Stars chances at scoring. Twenty minutes of penalties were accumulated with many coming in the third period. The plus to this was a great opportunity for the Stars to practice their penalty killing defense.

According to Mooney, the reasoning for scheduling a team like this was to increase the Stars level of play and to prepare for the playoffs, where the Stars will have to face a AA school like they did last year, a 9-1 loss to St. Cloud Tech.

Stars: 0 0 0 - 0
Mounds:. 6 4 2 -12

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