Willmar defeat Steel in season opener

Sep 18, 2021

Season six of Willmar WarHawks hockey got underway Saturday night in New Ulm with high expectations and team goals. Last season was the best-ever finish for the WarHawks who pushed the eventual NA3HL champion North Iowa Bulls to the limit in the 2021 Fraser Cup division finals before falling in Game 3 of a best-of three.

Head Coach Kirk Olimb has assembled a solid group of returners along with a handful of prospects for the new campaign. They traveled to face the New Ulm Steel on Saturday and after 60 minutes of play walked away with a 4-1 victory.

After a scoreless first period Jeremiah Konkel scored the first WarHawks tally of the season at 4:19 of the second. Max Cohen made it 2-0 just over five minutes later as Willmar dominated the period outshooting the home team 19-8.

Konkel scored again early in the third making it 3-0 while goaltender Cooper Olson continued to deny the host Steel. After 55 minutes of domination New Ulm finally slipped one past Olson to break up the shutout bid. Olson finished with 27 saves while his opposition Zach Foster stopped 39 of 42 shots faced.

Collin Kerchoff finished off scoring with an empty net goal at 17:53 of the final period.

Willmar are back in action Friday when they travel to Sauk Rapids and face the Granite City Lumberjacks.