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Boys Hockey: Wingers' offense sprints out of the gates

Red Wing’s Tyler DeFore connects with a slap shot for a goal during Friday’s season opener against Duluth Denfeld at Prairie Island Arena. DeFore finished with two goals and an assist in the Wingers’ 7-0 victory. (Republican Eagle photo by Kyle Stevens)1 / 2
The Red Wing boys’ hockey team celebrates in front of the student section after a goal by Seth Cushing in the first period Friday. (Republican Eagle photos by Kyle Stevens)2 / 2

After 17 minutes of play, there was no doubt which team was going to come out on top on Friday. The only matter to be settled would be the final score. And when Red Wing came out of the first intermission flying around and playing near-mistake free defensively, the final frame was a mere formality.

Four goals in the first, one in the second, and two more in the third to keep the clock from stopping was how the Wingers opened the season, 7-0 victors over Duluth Denfeld.

“A lot of positives that came out of this game,” said co-head coach Anthony Boser. “We saw a lot of things that we need to work on, but we also saw a lot of things come to fruition. Special teams today were amazing, and our defense played well. We talk about details a lot, and we were detail oriented today. We played a really, really good hockey game.”

Seth Cushing and Tyler DeFore alternated first-period goals, with Cushing, on assists from Camryn Blue and Teddy Lillico, getting the first goal of the game, and the season, at 3:20. DeFore got his first, unassisted, at 9:21.

Cushing’s second came less than three minutes later on the power play from Lillico and DeFore, while DeFore ended the first by poking in a rebound at 14:34.

“It was pretty exciting. We couldn’t wait to get out there. Practice has been going well with this line, and it showed,” DeFore said.

Cushing then picked up an assist when Blue scored while falling and spinning near the goal crease to up the margin to 5-0 at 9:11 of the second.

In the third, Cushing completed the hat trick on a feed from Blue, the first of two goals that came on a five-minute power play after a check from behind from the Hunters. The final goal came at 6:55 from Spencer Kronbeck, with help from Justin Walters.

“I think if we come out 100 percent all the time, if we don’t let them jump on us, they have to adjust,” Cushing said. “That makes them have to come back. If we do that, we should be fine.”

Zach Harding stopped all 26 shots to post the shutout, while Benjamin LaFont made 18 saves in 25 chances for Denfeld.

The win was big on the scoreboard, but even more so for the locker room and what’s to come as the team embarks on a three-game road trip.

“This game for us is a good stepping stone, a good benchmark. If we come out and do our jobs, we’re going to be a very tough team to compete with,” Boser said. “This, for us, was an eye-opener, for what they’re potential could be. If we get together like we did tonight, we’re going to have a lot of wins this year.”

Kyle Stevens
Kyle Stevens is a sports reporter for the Red Wing Republican Eagle. Previously, Kyle worked at the Owatonna People’s Press, as well as KWLM and KLFN in Willmar. You can contact Kyle by phone at (651) 301-7879, via e-mail at, and follow him on Twitter @RE_KStevens.
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