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The Hastings Raiders boys hockey team played to a 3-3 tie with Rochester Mayo in the season opener Thursday night at Hastings Civic Arena, surviving an onslaught in overtime from the Spartans to walk away with it at least not being a loss. The game started off with both teams feeling each other out. Mayo had been blown out by two powerhouses in Chanhassen and top-ranked Minnetonka to start the season, but it was not indicative of the fact that the Spartans might be the second most experienced team in the section behind Lakeville South. That being said, it was the Raiders looking to see where they stacked up early, and the young Raiders team looked ahead of schedule. Hastings scored first when Jon Harris fed Blake Vandehoef in front to give the Raiders a 1-0 advantage 13:08 into the first period. With 15 seconds left in the period however, Mayo would respond, sneaking one in past Kody Niederkorn off a bad turnover to tie things up at 1 after 1.

In the 2nd period, Hastings would regain the lead. Mark DeNoyer passed the puck to Harris, who beautifully weaved his way behind the goaltender for his first varisty goal and a 2-1 lead. But Mayo wasn’t going down without a fight, as Mason Leimbek would score two goals at the end of the 2nd period to give Mayo their first lead of the game 3-2. It would be their only lead of the night, as Hastings would tie it up in the 3rd period, when Connor Zgoda would score on a rebound with helpers from Sawyer Zaruba and Matt Sherry. That would remain the score heading into the extra 8 minutes.

In overtime, it was all Mayo. The Raiders spent nearly the entire 8 minutes backed up into their end, as an extended press from Mayo put more than 10 shots on net. But Kody Niederkorn would stop them all. Hastings had their only shot of overtime in the final seconds, and a great chance would not go in, resulting in a 3-3 tie. The Raiders are 0-0-1 on the season and return to action next week at Simley. Hastings was outshot 40-31 in the contest, and went 0-3 on the power play, but killed off both penalties against them. Niederkorn stopped 37 shots for a .925 save percentage, as he is primed to be the force in net for the Raiders this season.


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