42 and won: Breckenridge/Wahpeton boys hockey team earns first win in almost two years
The Breckenridge/Wahpeton Blades hadn't previously won a game since Feb. 16, 2021. They broke their losing streak on Saturday in a 5-4 win over Becker/Big Lake
BRECKENRIDGE, Minn. — The Breckenridge/Wahpeton boys hockey team was on a 42-game losing streak, with its last win coming almost two years ago in a 3-2 victory over Park Rapids on Feb. 16, 2021.
The Blades broke free of their losing streak in a 5-4 victory over Becker/Big Lake on Saturday.
"There was obviously a lot of relief, we finally got the result that we wanted," said head coach Adam Wiertzema. "The crowd went pretty crazy and they were excited. Our guys got to celebrate together and it was a Saturday so they got to enjoy the rest of the weekend, it was a great day for us."
"I told the guys that we have to believe that we can win — just because it hasn't happened yet doesn't mean you can't believe it," said Wiertzema, who is in his second season with the team. "Now that we have done it, it really takes a lot of pressure off, we don't have to grip the sticks so tight."
Breckenridge/Wahpeton had a 3-2 lead after the first period and a 4-3 lead after the second. The final goal in the third frame to give the Blades the victory was a shorthanded goal from captain Jack Rittenour . Josh Hofman netted two goals in the match while teammates Kai McDonald and Brady DeVries had the other two tallies.
It wasn't just a game about scoring though, as it was a gritty 51 minutes. There were 17 total penalties called between both teams and several roughing calls coming in the second and third periods. There were multiple chances for each team to score on special teams, but Blades netminder Andrew Withuski kept things calm in goal.
"The kids have been working really hard and they've been close (to getting a win in their other games)," said Wahpeton activities and athletic director Mike McCall. "They're doing things right, they're getting better and better every time they play together.
"Numbers the last couple of years as a whole have been down ... but we've got a lot of young kids now and next year we'll have a lot of kids coming in. I'm going to estimate we'll have 18 or 19 freshman and sophomores next year, so a lot of young kids with some older kids, which is more than we've had in a while."
Great win boys!! 🖤🏒🤍 https://t.co/mwc8KVdcEA pic.twitter.com/hzCX9E1OTs— Becky DeVries (@BeckyDeVries1) January 28, 2023
The Breckenridge/Wahpeton community also recently received a $10,000 donation to their youth hockey program according to their social media page. The BW Blades Facebook page posted on Jan. 18 that "we received a $10,000 donation that will be used to enhance our mite in-house experience as well as fund a variety of tools and equipment that are used at all levels," so things are looking up for the hockey community as a whole, not just at the high school level.
Going forward after the win, the team isn't letting up on practices or effort in the final seven games of the season.
"Whether you win or lose you have to show up the next day ready to improve ... enjoy the moment, but on Monday it's in the rearview mirror," said Wiertzema.
Breckenridge/Wahpeton improved to 1-16 on the season while Becker/Big Lake felll to 7-10 after the loss.
The Blades play at Detroit Lakes on Tuesday.
BRECKENRIDGE/WAHPETON 5, BECKER/BIG LAKE 4
First period scoring — 1. BW, Brady DeVries (Michael Peterson) 2:38; 1. BBL, Eli Scheideman (Jase Tobako, Blayne Varner) 3:43; 2. BW, Kai McDonald (Josiah Breuer, Jack Rittenour) 6:46; 3. BW, Josh Hofman (unassisted) 9:48; 2. BBL, Trevor Briggs (Samuel Rusin, Gunnar Hanson) 12:09
Penalties — BBL, Andrew Holm (tripping) 8:01; BW, Trey Vogelbacher (high-sticking) 9:39
Second period scoring — 4. BW, Hofman (Breuer) 14:12 (pp); 3. BBL, J. Tobako (unassisted) 16:00 (pp)
Penalties — BW, Vogelbacher (hooking) 2:42; BBL, Rylan Tobako (high-sticking) 3:56; BBL, Holm (tripping) 9:30; BBL, Hanson (roughing) 10:04; BW, Josiah Hoffman (roughing) 10:04; BBL, Elliot Ginter (roughing) 12:48; BBL, Garrett Marotz (13:53); BW, Brett Goltz (roughing) 13:53; BW, Isaiah Bruechert (15:39)
Third period scoring — 5. BW, Rittenour (unassisted) 8:01 (sh); 4. BBL, Marotz (R. Tobako) 16:25 (pp)
Penalties — BBL, R. Tobako (roughing) 5:45; BW, Aiden Hayek (hooking) 11:19; BW, Jace Johanson (tripping) 14:23; BW, Breuer (interference) 15:37; BBL, Scheideman (roughing) 17:00; BW, Breuer (roughing) 17:00
Shots on goal: BW, 30 (11: 10: 9); BBL, 29 (6: 10: 13)
Goalie Saves: BW, Andrew Withuski 25/29 (4GA); BBL Thomas Zerwas 22/24 (2GA); BBL, Declan Weber 3/6 (3GA)