TOMAHAWK - The Rhinelander hockey team hadn't won four or more games in a season since the 2009-2010 season.
That streak mercifully ended with a wild 7-5 win at Tomahawk Thursday night.
The Hodags moved to 4-4-0 on the season with the victory at the SARA Park Arena – and it's only early January.
"It feels good. It was nice to get a win tonight," Hodags coach M.J. Laggis said of the ceiling-breaking victory.
Rhinelander's Calin Erdmann picked up a hat trick, and the Hodags stormed back with three unanswered third-period goals to best the Hatchets for the second time this year.
"It was very much needed," Laggis said of the hat trick. Erdmann picked up his fifth, sixth, and seventh goals of the year.
Hodags goalie Jake Arno stopped a potential game-tying penalty shot late in regulation and added several more athletic saves to ice the victory.
"I would focus on the third period because I thought that was his best period by a long shot," Laggis said of Arno.
The contest was marred by 15 combined penalties. The Hodags cashed in with three power play goals in the first two periods, but still needed the third-period comeback to ensure the win.
"Ultimately, it falls on [the players'] shoulders, and they got the job done in the third period. I'm happy for them. I'm proud of them," Laggis said.
For a high-scoring game, Thursday's tilt started quietly. Chris Hagen got the first goal after 11:25 of scoreless hockey, putting home a rebound on a two-man Rhinelander advantage.
Jakob Panzer, who also had a hat trick for Tomahawk, answered three minutes later. An Alex Ungerer goal put the Hatchets up 2-1 heading to first intermission.
Lucas Fix opened the scoring in the second period, netting a shot from the right circle off a feed from Evan Erdmann. Fix lit the lamp on the top shelf to tie it at two.
Disappointment halted the Hodag momentum shortly later, after Kurt Zuiker accidentally touched a puck in the Rhinelander crease. It slid it for an own goal, and Tomahawk was up 3-2. The Hatchets extended their advantage to 4-2 on a Kevin Bolder goal six minutes into the second.
Then Calin Erdmann got going. He fired a power play shot from the slot that ricocheted off of both the left and right posts before settling in the net at 9:56. After a Panzer goal at 13:53, Calin Erdmann scored again on a wraparound around the right post to draw the Hodags within 5-4 at second intermission.
The third period belonged solely to Rhinelander. Just more than two minutes in, Evan Erdmann tallied from the slot to tie the score.
"Evan Erdmann scored his first career goal, and that's always exciting for a kid," Laggis said.
Calin Erdmann turned on the speed to enter the Tomahawk zone at 12:04 and put home an unassisted goal, securing the hat trick as Hodag fans sprayed headwear on the ice.
Rhinelander then led 6-5, but it dodged a major bullet thanks to Arno's play. A pileup near the Hodag crease led to an Ungerer penalty shot, which Arno gloved.
Cody Vinger added an open-goal wrister at 16:25 for good measure and the 7-5 margin.
"We're not thrilled with how we played in that locker room tonight, but it was good to get the win and finish in the third period," Laggis said.
The Hodags will face Tomahawk again, on February 13 at Rhinelander Ice Arena.
"It was a back-and-forth game, and I would suspect when they play us in our building at the end of the year, it will be another wild one," Laggis said.
Rhinelander next travels to Antigo on Tuesday, looking to improve to 3-3-0 in Great Northern Conference play. With Thursday's win and a Mosinee loss, the Hodags now stand tied for fifth in the eight-team league with the Indians.
"We have to play better in all three zones, because we have some really big teams coming after us," Laggis said in looking forward.
The puck drops at 7pm at the Langlade County Multi-Purpose Building on Tuesday.
WAUSAU - Police in Wausau expect to forward forgery charges to the Marathon County District Attorney against four people after finding counterfeit money in the area.
Patrick J. Eppolite, Jr., 22; Michael A. Beck, 27; Jeremy J. Hess, 36; and Amanda M. Bender, 32, are currently in jail on probation holds, but investigators believe they're connected to some counterfeit 20 dollar bills in the area, according to the Wausau Police Department.
EAGLE RIVER - The Northland Pines fishing team is about as basic as it gets.
Just two kids, bait, and their gear.
"I didn't expect to go anywhere," said Northland Pines Junior Mike John.
But in their first year the team is headed to nationals after getting second BASS Wisconsin High School Fishing Tournament. It was the first tournament they've competed in together.
Mike John is going to be a junior. Harmon Marien became a freshman right before the state tournament started.
"Wednesday previous I was in 8th grade and then that Saturday and Sunday we took second in the high school tournament," Northland Pines Freshman Marien said. "That was pretty cool, good way to start high school."
RHINELANDER - This week, a seven-year-old put his life in danger to save his baby sister and little brother from a house fire near downtown Rhinelander.
On Friday, the Rhinelander Fire Department honored that little boy for his bravery.
Rhinelander firefighters now call Adam Granger, 7, a hero.
"He tells me over and over how he wasn't scared and just wanted to save his sister's life and didn't want her to die," said Jenny Schroeder, Adam's mother.
Adam saved his six-month old sister and four-year-old brother from a house fire in downtown Rhinelander.
"His actions, his quick thinking, saved two lives that day," said Rhinelander Fire Assistant Chief Tom Waydick.
Investigators still don't know the exact cause of the fire, but they say it started in the kitchen. Adam's father, Adam Granger, Sr., went outside for a couple minutes to start a campfire, and the next thing
he knew his house was up in flames.
"And the kids were in and out of the house helping him," Waydick said.
When he saw the smoke, Adam's father and his brother ran inside to get the three kids upstairsï¿½ï¿½"not realizing they had already gotten out. To do that, Adam had to run past the fire to get to the bedroom where his baby sister was. Then he went back towards the flames and led his younger brother down the back steps to safety.
"[I'm] Very proud and honored to have him as my son," Schroeder said.
Schroeder doesn't want to think of how it could have turned out.
"We've talked about how the other outcome could have been worse," Schroeder said.
GREEN BAY - Prosecutors have charged a 26-year-old man accused of fatally stabbing his ex-girlfriend and her mother and injuring a third person in the Green Bay area.
Jacob Cayer of Ashwaubenon was charged Friday with two counts of first-degree intentional homicide. WLUK-TV reports Cayer also is charged with attempted first-degree intentional homicide, burglary and bail jumping.
MERCER - You don't expect to see crowds in secluded parts of Iron County, but loons tend to be a big draw.
"There's a lot of people who have had interest in loon research," said DNR wildlife biologist John Olson.
"Monitor change overtime in the wildlife population here in the Turtle Flambeau Flowage. Are loons increasing or staying stable or decreasing the numbers of breeding pair?" said retired wildlife biologist, Bruce Bacon.
The community has shown interest in the animal and with the research collected, the volunteers can maintain a steady population of loons in the water.
"Over the years, there have been a number of people who have done real exciting loon work up here," said Olson.
Over the last few surveys, the DNR have decided to expand its research to all wildlife in water and on land, not just the loons.
"The survey has developed into being more all-inclusive of any wildlife we see out here. Especially breeding birds," said Olson.
Some animals seen on Friday include a deer and her fawn, ducks, geese, eagles, ospreys, and of course multiple loons.
The Turtle Flambeau Flowage is a total of 14,000 acres. Individual volunteers maintain the area year round. If they notice a home or shelter destroyed, they will help start a new one for the animals.
"It's rewarding to see a place like the Turtle Flambeau Flowage in Wisconsin and this monitoring gives us a sense of how to monitor and protect it," said Bacon.
Overall, the goal for the group is to collect data on the animals and maintain that number to keep the Northwoods booming with wildlife.
The power of volunteerism was in full effect on Friday. Six boats covered all 14,000 acres of the Turtle Flambeau Flowage.
Disclaimer: All information deemed reliable but not guaranteed and should be independently verified. Rockfleet Broadcasting / Northland Television, Inc. and By Request Web Designs shall not be held responsible for any typographical errors, misinformation, or misprints.