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Junior Hockey: Mason City takes Game 1 from Willmar

WarHawks can't hold onto a 3-1 lead in 6-4 loss to Mason City

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MASON CITY, Iowa. — The Willmar WarHawks got off to a great start, but couldn’t hang onto it in their NA3HL playoff series with the Mason City Toros.

Mason City rallied from a two-goal deficit to beat Willmar 6-4 in Game 1 of the best-of-three Western Division series.

Some 485 fans at Mason City Arena saw the Toros score three second-period goals to erase a 3-1 deficit against Willmar.

The WarHawks got goals from Mikhail Kukareka, Brady O’Brien and Colin Kerchoff to erase an early 1-0 Mason City lead.

Willmar didn’t score again until 6:44 of the third period when Willmar native Elbridge DeKraai connected to cut the WarHawks’ deficit to 5-4.

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It was a physical game, with 16 penalties and two ejections for fighting.

The teams resume their series at 7:10 p.m. Friday at the Willmar Civic Center Arena. A third game, if needed, is Saturday in Mason City.

Mason City 6,Willmar 4 
Willmar                   3     0     1 — 4
Mason City             1     3     2 — 6
FIRST PERIOD –  (1) MC: Luke Stevens (Blake Ulvey, Carter Newpower) 7:30, PP … (2) W: Mikhail Kukareka (Mason Hendrickson) 11:53 … (3) W: Brady O’Brien (Blake Keller) 12:45 … (4) W: Collin Kerchoff (unassisted) 16:37. PENALTIES: (1) W: Nickita Moiseev (slashing-minor, 2 min) 6:02 … (2) MC: Colin Hedland (holding-minor, 2 min) 8:52 … (3) W: Michael Sweetland (cross checking-minor, 2 min) 13:52 … (4) W: Ben Luedtke (cross checking-minor, 2 min) 19:21 … (5) MC: Cal Levis (hooking-minor, 2 min) 19:21.
SECOND PERIOD –  (5) MC: Ulve (Shota Kaneko, Derek Humphreys), 12:03, PP … (6) MC: Sota Isogai (Newpower, Ulve) 15:09 … (7) MC: Newpower (Matt Kochanowski) 17:02. PENALTIES: (6) MC: Easton Tok (hooking-minor, 2 min) 2:51 … (7) W: Enzo Tarducci (cross checking-minor, 2 min) 10:12 … (8) W: Nolan Grier (cross checking-minor, 2 min) 17:27.
THIRD PERIOD – (8) MC: Ulve (Newpower, Isogai) :23 … (9) W: Elbridge DeKraai (Marcus Mack) 6:44 … (10) MC: Humphreys (Luke Robertson, Ethan Peterson) 11:06. PENALTIES: (9) W: Patrick Wyers (kneeing-minor, 2 min) 1:19 … (10) MC: Koneko (interference-minor, 2 min) 3:13 … (11) W: Sweetland (fighting-major, 5 min) 4:49 … (12) W: Sweetland (fighting-ejection, 20 min) 4:49 … (13) MC: Kochanski (fighting-major, 5 min) 4:49 … (14) MC: Kochanski (fighting-ejection, 20 min) 4:49 … (15) W: Luedtke (roughing-minor, 2 min) 19:56 … (16) MC: Cullen Hogan (roughing-minor, 2 min) 19:56.
GOALIE SAVES/SHOTS – Willmar: Cooper Olson 22/28 … Mason City: Owen Carlson 25/29

Tom Elliott has been the sports editor at the West Central Tribune since September 2019.
Contact him at telliott@wctrib.com or leave a message at 320-235-1150.
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