RHINELANDER - Rapid-fire Waupaca goals doomed the Rhinelander High School boys hockey team in a 6-1 loss to the Comets Saturday night at Rhinelander Ice Arena.
Waupaca coupled goals within 15 seconds of each other early in the second period. Midway through the third, they scored twice within a minute.
Despite the lopsided loss, Hodags coach M.J. Laggis was pleased with many aspects of how Rhinelander played.
"We had a lot of energy, and a lot of good shifts. But we gave up some goals in clumps," he said.
Waupaca only outshot the Hodags 28-23.
Even though the score wouldn't indicate it, the time in possession of the puck was fairly even throughout the game.
"There were a few times we just made really bad plays with the puck, things that we can definitely improve on. But I liked our energy. I liked the fact that we held the zone for sustained periods of time," Laggis said.
Rhinelander's only goal came on a Brett Estabrook powerful slap shot from just above the left circle at the 8:50 mark in the second period. Estabrook slammed the one-timer to the back post, past returning first-team all conference goalie Walker Smith for the unassisted tally.
Waupaca had lit the lamp early. Austin Erickson scored just a minute and a half into the game.
The rest of the first period was evenly played, but the Comets picked up goals 51 seconds and 66 seconds into the second. Aaron Dahle got his fourth goal of the season, and Erickson scored his second of the game.
After Estabrook's goal, Waupaca standout Jared Erickson picked a loose puck and scored on the breakaway to make it 4-1 at the second intermission.
Jared Erickson and Elliot Crisman scored in the final period for Waupaca.
Smith and Rhinelander goalie Jacob Arno each finished with 22 saves.
"I don't fault Jake Arno. Jake Arno made the save, but it was a lot of rebound stuff," Laggis said.
Play on the ice was incredibly clean. The first penalty of the game wasn't until the final minute of the second period, a too many men on the ice infraction on Waupaca. The first contact penalty wasn't until the last four minutes of the game.
However, a whistle with just 1.4 seconds left in regulation will have lasting impact for the Hodags.
Henry Kipper was assessed a game misconduct for a check from behind. That call will sideline him for Rhinelander's next game.
"He didn't mean to do that. But we still, as a group, didn't keep our composure the last three minutes. We played about 45 minutes of penalty-free hockey. We have to finish that way, too," Laggis said.
Kipper apologized for the play, and both the Hodags and Comets seemed to agree there was nothing malicious. Nonetheless, Kipper will be suspended per WIAA rules.
Rhinelander dropped to 2-3-0 and 0-2-0 in Great Northern Conference play. Waupaca improved to 3-2-1, 2-1-0.
"We're learning fast. Two and three (record)? Whatever. We'll see where we're at in January," Laggis said.
The Hodags next travel to Minocqua on Tuesday to face Lakeland.
"They've really just taken us over their knee over the last couple of years. We're looking at going into their building and playing a strong game," Laggis said.
BOULDER JUNCTION - Pilots find very little room for error when they make a landing. Wings, flaps, and landing gear all need to work properly. Then there's the runway itself, which needs to be flat and smooth.
So, when pilots found ruts and divots torn into the grass runway at Boulder Junction's airport, folks were more than upset, they were worried about safe landings. Airfield president Jeff Long thinks someone used a pickup truck to do the damage. It happened right before the airfield's busiest weekend of the year, the Musky Day fly-in.
"To see somebody disregard that, disrespect that, and then again the safety, where somebody could get hurt that we're inviting up here for summer fun, doesn't make you feel very good," Long said.
RHINELANDER - The City of Rhinelander and Oneida County will consider borrowing $15 million to help develop a manufacturer in Rhinelander, according to an Oneida County Economic Development Corporation release Tuesday.
The money would help Rhinelander Coated Products start work inside the former Printpack building on Kemp Street.
MADISON - New state regulations designed to retain teachers are going into effect.
The package was published Tuesday. The provisions allow retired teachers or teachers nearing retirement to apply for a nonrenewable five-year license without submitting a professional development plan. They also increase the time that short-term substitute teachers can serve in the same assignment from 20 days to 45 days.
THREE LAKES - Pollinators play an essential role in the growth of plants, and it's not just bees that help pollinate.
Butterflies, bats, and even mosquitoes are pollinators, but those populations have been in decline in recent years.
"Across the U.S., pollinators have been seeing big declines," said Oneida County Conservationist Michele Sadauskas. "We've been hearing more and more about our honeybee pollinations. The monarch populations have had dramatic decreases. So we're seeing it across the board."
EAGLE RIVER - Cities across the Northwoods drop tens of thousands of dollars every winter on crack sealing roads. The Eagle River Airport is no different. The airport spent about $25,000 in 2016 patching up its main runway.
Arguably, that runway is even older than most roads people drive on. The runway was last redone in 1971. On a busy day, the 5,000-foot runway hosts upwards of 80 takeoffs and landings. Airport manager Rob Hom showed Newswatch 12 a number of places where the pavement is buckling and cracked. That can lead to dangerous landings for small planes.
"Relative to a car or a truck [a prop-powered airplane is] pretty light relatively speaking, so having a smooth runway is imperative," Hom said.
CRANDON - For some Northwoods families, it can be hard to find the money to pay for their kids' school supplies every year, but a back-to-school program in Forest County is giving children the supplies they need to succeed.
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