The Hastings Raiders beat the Farmington Tigers 3-2 at Schmitz-Maki Ice Arena in Farmington to remain perfect in the section, likely clinching home ice in the first round, and setting up a colossal matchup with Lakeville North on January 31 for what many believe could be for the section’s #2 seed.
The Raiders dynamic special teams struck again, as the power play continued to thrive. This time it was Blake Vandehoef 8:22 into the first period from Eddie Peine and Danny Millner to give the Raiders a 1-0. Despite Farmington having the edge in shots on goal, the Raiders would double their lead, when Sawyer Zaruba scored from the point inching one past the Farmington netminder to make it 2-0. It was Zaruba’s first varsity goal and Peine and Jon Harris got credited with the assists.
In the second period, Hastings would expand the lead again. The Raiders created traffic in front of the net and after assists from Harris and Joey Iovino, the puck was punched in by Brody Carlson and Hastings took a 3-0 lead after two.
In the third period, it was all Farmington early. After the Raiders successfully killed off a penalty, Farmington found the net mere seconds later to make it 3-1, sniping one past Niederkorn and giving the Tigers some life. The Tigers would then press the rest of the period, finding another goal during that pressure to make it 3-2. Farmington pulled the goalie with 2:47 left but Hastings held strong and didn’t allow any major chances to hang on for the 3-2 win.
The Raiders are 5-0-1 in the section ahead of a titanic clash with Lakeville North on January 31. North was 7-9 overall as of this writing and the common consensus is that this game could determine the #2 seed. The Raiders are hoping to be seeded in a way that they avoid playing Lakeville South until the section final, as South is the runaway leader in the clubhouse for the top spot in the section. The Raiders then play Mounds View at home, before travelling to Park, taking on Mahtomedi again, and then playing East Ridge in Cottage Grove. They then end their regular season with a home game against SSP and a road tilt at Tartan.