The Antigo Red Robins hockey team has its first three-game win streak of the season, after defeating Great Northern Conference rival Northland Pines 7-2 on Thursday and rallying with a pair of third period goals to take down Waupun 2-1 on Friday.
Thursday’s match up with the four-time defending conference champion Eagles was all Robins.
With Pines struggling in the early portion of its season, Antigo was eager to take advantage and peppered freshman goaltender Eli Kerner with 56 shots, putting seven in the net and out shooting the Eagles 56-12 in the process to take the win.
The Robins scored twice in the opening period, the first coming at the 11:28 mark courtesy of Garrett Husnick with an assist from Calvin Jansen.
It took just 66 seconds later for the Robins to find the back of the net again, this time it was junior defenseman Landon Nelson with his first goal of the season, assisted by Husnick and Eli Kassler.
Antigo tacked on two more scores in the second period, courtesy of a pair of breakaways. Trevin Walbeck put a nice move on the Northland Pines’ defenseman and dangled Kerner to make it 3-0, before freshman Owen Dickman snagged a loose puck and sniped a shot into the back of the net as the Robins built a commanding 4-0 advantage.
Pines finally got on the scoreboard at the 14:08 mark of the frame, courtesy of Anderson Kielty, but the Robins put the finishing touches on its first win over the Eagles in four seasons, with three third period goals.
The first came via the power play, when the Robins went to the man advantage thanks to a five minute major penalty on Northland Pines’ Patrick Roth for boarding. Appropriately it was Kassler, the victim of the hit, tallying the score to make it 5-1.
Jansen then buried a nice shot from the circle as time ticked off the man advantage.
Walbeck’s second goal, an unassisted tally at the 10:41 mark finished off the Red Robin scoring and temporarily put the game in running clock.
Pines added an unassisted goal from Logan Kramsvogel late in the 7-2 final.
Nolan Bunnell started in goal for Antigo and finished with 10 saves, while Kerner was credited with 49.
Nelson ended the night with three assists for a playmaker, leading the team in scoring with four points and giving him a team-high 12 assists for the season.
Husnick had a pair of assists for a three point night as the Robins pulled back to the .500 mark both on the season and in GNC play with the win.
Friday, the Robins welcomed Waupun to the Multi-Purpose Building.
Although the Warriors entered with just three wins on the season, Antigo had its work cut out for it against premier goaltender Tyler Fromolz, who entered with an outstanding .938 save percentage on the season.
Fromolz lived up to the billing as he turned away 43 Antigo shots and kept his team in the game throughout, despite a 45-13 deficit in shots on goal.
In fact, it was Waupun who scored first as Quinn Baley got behind the Robins defense and was credited with an unassisted goal just under six minutes in.
The Robins soon began to dominate puck possession and scoring opportunities, but Fromolz turned away each one for the next 34 minutes, until the Robins finally broke through in the third.
Paden Michalik skated the puck into the offensive zone with the Robins on one of their two power play opportunities on the night. Michalik slipped the puck past Fromolz to tie things at one.
The score remained that way until Husnick got around the Waupun defense and went one-on-one with Fromolz. After being rejected on an earlier breakaway look, the senior captain would not be denied this time around, the dangle and score gave Antigo a lead it would not relinquish in the 2-1 final.
It was Husnick’s team-leading 13th goal of the season.
Kassler was credited with the assist on the game winner as the Robins improved to 7-6-1 overall on the season. Waupun fell to 3-8-1.
The wins give Antigo plenty of momentum as it heads north on Thursday for a big conference game at Rhinelander. The Hodags are 4-1 in GNC play and defeated the Robins three times a season ago, coming by a combined count of 21-3.
Antigo will also host Shawano on Saturday afternoon, part of the annual Hockey Days celebration.