AMES — The Mohawk Hockey Club knew it would take a tremendous effort for it to move past the first round of the Midwest High School Hockey League tournament.
Facing second-seeded Omaha in Friday’s quarterfinal game, the puck never bounced the Mohawks’ way as the Jr. Lancers rolled to a 7-1 victory.
“At the very beginning of the game we discussed being mentally focused and ready whether we’re up a couple goals or down a couple goals … just be prepared to battle, and we did that especially in the third period,” Mohawk Hockey Club co-coach Rich Gores said. “We told them to go down and fight and leave it all out there.”
The fight was made more difficult as Omaha (26-1-1-1) used its athleticism throughout to outplay the Mohawks (12-15-0-2).
The Jr. Lancers tallied two quick goals within 7 minutes and 30 seconds into the game to put the Mohawks in a hole.
The Mohawks did respond in the period when Zach Jimenez, assisted by Nate Lassise and Jaxon Jones, lit the lamp at the 11:18 mark to bring them within 1, down 2-1.
But the Jr. Lancers were too good on this night. They tallied one more goal at the end of the first and added three more in the second before the Mohawks held them to 1 goal in the third period.
Joe Negrete scored twice for Omaha on the night and Jackson Peterson and Thomas Dyball each had three-point nights.
Mason City goalie Derek Walker stopped 21 of the 27 shots he faced before giving way to Andy Hitchcock in the third period, who finished with two saves on three shots.
The Mohawk Hockey Club graduates 10 seniors but returns a wealth of experience and talent, including all three players who recorded a point Friday — Jimenez, Lassise and Jones. The trio will all return for their senior seasons.
“The juniors already said ‘We’re going to get back here.’ Right now it stings and they feel it, but hopefully they’ll be motivated going into next year,” Gores said.