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Wildcat skaters drop finale

Eau Claire North scored the final two goals of the game to hand the Wildcats a 5-3 defeat in the Big Rivers Conference boys hockey finale for both teams Thursday night, Feb. 8, in Eau Claire.

River Falls battled back from a 3-1 deficit to tie the score early in the third period but couldn't get over the hump.

Eau Claire North scored just 12 seconds into the contest before the Wildcats tied things up on a goal by Tye Kusilek at the 11:07 mark of the first period, assisted by Noah LaVold.

The Huskies got a power play goal just before the end of the first period and scored again 4:26 into the second period to open up a 3-1 lead.

Max Morrow cut the margin in half at 8:08 of the second, assisted by Logan Graetz and Jake Bergmanis and Braedon Harer tied the score 1:12 into the third with Cody Wilson and Joe Stoffel assisting but the Huskies tallied the go-ahead goal midway through the period and added another with 5:24 remaining to make the final 5-3.

Wildcat goalie Jack Decheine, in just his second start of the season, finished with 45 saves as Eau Claire North outshot River Falls, 50-13. The Huskies improved to 17-6-1, 8-4-0 in the BRC, while the Wildcats ended the regular season at 5-18-1 overall, 3-9-0 in conference play.

River Falls opensthe postseason as the No. 7 seed at home against No. 10 Grantsburg (1-19) Tuesday, Feb. 13. The winner will travel to No. 2 seed Superior (12-9-2) for a regional final Thursday, Feb. 15.

Bob Burrows
Bob Burrows has been sports editor at the River Falls Journal since 1996 and at the Hudson Star-Observer since 2009. Prior to joining the Journal, Burrows served as sports editor with Ledger Publications in Balsam Lake, Wis. A native of Bayonne, N.J. and a U.S. Navy veteran, Burrows attended Marquette University before completing his studies at UW-River Falls in 1992.
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