RHINELANDER - Jake Arno stopped 26 of 27 shots between the pipes, but Lakeland used a big first period to down the Hodags boys hockey team 4-1 at the Rhinelander Ice Arena Thursday night.
Arno stepped in after the first intermission. Alex Littleton had allowed three first-period goals to the Thunderbirds in the opening 17 minutes. Despite the loss, the Rhinelander coaching staff was pleased with Arno's effort.
"That's a bright spot for us tonight, to face 27 shots and turn back 26 of them," assistant coach Wil Losch said. "It's good for his confidence. He's had some frustrations, and he has high expectations of himself."
This was a matchup of winless Great Northern Conference teams. Lakeland left RIA at 4-3-0 overall and 1-2-0 in the GNC. The Hodags dropped to 0-7-0, 0-3-0.
Bobby Estabrook put home the lone Rhinelander goal near the start of the third period from the slot, picking up assists from Lucas Fix and Bryce Luebke. That made it 3-1.
But Lakeland's explosive opening session proved the difference. Thunderbird leading scorer Nik Boyer, as well as junior Jack Dern, netted unassisted goals. Jason Anderson also chipped in a score. Rhinelander could have made up ground in the middle period, but wasn't with it.
"It was a really poor period, maybe one of the worst periods we've had this year," Losch said. "We did a poor job anticipating. When we had guys that didnâ€™t have the puck, they're just not thinking a step ahead."
The Hodags were in a particularly tough situation when Estabrook and Chris Hagen committed simultaneous minor penalties for tripping and interference, respectively, with 28 seconds left in the second. But the Hodags killed Lakeland's two-man advantage that spanned between the second and third. That sparked an encouraging final 17 minutes for Rhinelander.
The Hodags now hit the road for a non-conference test at Merrill on Saturday. It should be the best chance for a win yet this year.
"They're kind of in the same boat as us. They're a young team, a small roster. I think we're going to match up real well with them," Losch said. "It certainly is a winnable game, but we have to go in there and play real strong. If we play like we did tonight, it's not winnable."
ACROSS THE NORTHWOODS - Do bugs seem to be everywhere in your home, even though there's snow outside? One type of bug in Wisconsin spends the winter inside our houses! They look like Lady Bugs, but they are actually not native to this country.
"They're actually called a multi-colored Asian Lady Beetle. They can be anywhere from a pale yellow to a darker orange and they have black spots on them but you'll see some that don't have spots," says Kerri Ison, UW Oneida County Extension.
RHINELANDER - Our record breaking snow storm left more than 6,000 people across the Northwoods without power.
WPS had to rely on 20 extra crews from Green Bay, Wausau and Menominee to restore power.
But getting to the outages was a challenge.
A representative for WPS says workers are expecting even more outages to be reported.
"Not all of the back roads are plowed yet and that's where a lot of outages are located," said Leah Van Zile, WPS Community Relations leader. "Throughout the day as the temperatures warm, we expect to receive additional calls due to the unloading of snow off of the tree branches."
Eagle River had one of the highest number of customers affected by the outages.
Representatives for WPS say this was one of the hardest winters they've had to deal with.
"We've had some really, really severe wind chills which has really made the temperatures below zero. Typically, only in emergencies do we work in those conditions," said Van Zile. "But pretty much any other time, whether it's a rain storm, a snow storm, a wind storm, our guys are out there working, getting that power back on."
The number of outages dropped below 4,000 since earlier today.
If you're still without power to call 1800-450-7240.
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