Riverhawks extend unbeaten streak to six

Tuesday night the North Wright County Riverhawks played to a 1-1 tie in Andover (No. 10 AA), concluding a five-game stretch against ranked teams, with three of them coming on the road.
NWC entered that stretch unranked and unheralded. After picking up four wins and a tie, they’re leaving that stretch assuming people will now take notice.
“We probably got ourselves a little more on the radar,” admitted Coach Jason Johnson Tuesday afternoon.
The final portion of the stretch, three road games in five days, started Friday in Roseau. Johnson admitted Tuesday that before heading north for the weekend, the Riverhawks would have looked at a split as a good weekend.
But when push came to shove, they got greedy.
After a 4-1 win over Roseau, North Wright County headed to overtime with Thief River Falls, the fourth-ranked team in Class A.
At that point, there was no more talk of a split.
“We talked about visualizing how much fun it was going to be to celebrate a game winner,” said Johnson.
Minutes later, they did just that. A Rachel King slapshot rebounded to senior Maddi Sjelin, and she knew what to do with it. Sjelin put it in the back of the net, giving the Hawks a 2-1 victory and a remarkable fourth straight victory over a ranked opponent.
“Very satisfied,” said Johnson about how the weekend went. “Obviously those are huge games.”
The second was more thrilling, and perhaps more impressive. The first was certainly more important.
In that Friday night game, North Wright County struck first, and struck again in each period on their way to a three-goal road win over their section rival from Roseau.
In the first, Marina Chapman struck early. Her goal four minutes in gave the Hawks a lead they had to work to protect over the remainder of the period.
“They had some periods of play where they took it to us,” admitted Johnson, adding that many of those came in the first period.
But Alex Lamere was great in net, and the defense helped clear loose pucks as NWC kept Roseau at 0. From there, the vistors seemed to settle in, and the score continued to widen.
Two goals from Dani Sibley pushed the lead to 3-0 in the second period. And a third period goal from Kaleigh Hamann made it 4-0 before Roseau finally got one in the net late.
The schedule doesn’t lighten too much for NWC. The Hawks stay on the road as they travel to Elk River tonight and Centennial on Saturday.