It was a frustrating early evening for the Willmar WarHawks who were hosting the Granite City Lumberjacks in a key NA3HL West Division clash. That all went away in the third period as the WarHawks score four times to complete a comeback victory 5-4.
“Huge comeback!,” said coach Kirk Olimb. “Boys never gave up. Stayed the course. Capitalized on powerplay opportunities when we had them.”
Despite outshooting their opponent 29-24 in the opening 40 minutes the WarHawks found themselves trailing 4-1 after two periods. Isaiah Thomas was the lone man to beat Lumberjacks goaltender Bailey Huber early into the second frame. Alex Kupka and Cole Wigestrand assisted on the tally, the third for Thomas in just eight games with Willmar.
The third period got off to a great start for the home team when Kaleb Miller scored just :48 after intermission.
The score held at 4-2 for the next 15 minutes of play as Huber continued to deny the WarHawks, who would outshoot Granite City 22-12 in the frame.
Momentum then took a huge turn as Lewis Rowan scored twice on the powerplay, first at 16:04 then :42 later to tie the game 4-4.
A cross checking minor was whistled on the Lumberjacks at 17:11 and the WarHawks once again took advantage. Dylan Gawjewski whistled a shot past Huber at 18:10 for the game winner.
“We drew penalties with our work ethic in the end,” added Olimb.
Will Pinney stopped 32 shots for Willmar earning his fifth win in six starts.
Willmar (14-12-0-0) and Granite City (13-8-0-0) meet again this Wednesday in Sauk Rapids.
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