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January 3, 2006 > Wild hold off Hawks down the stretch in 1-1 tie

Wild hold off Hawks down the stretch in 1-1 tie

Midget-A1 December 26

The Santa Clara Blackhawks made the long trek to Southern California on the day after Christmas and found SCAHA competition ready to go toe-to-toe against NORCAL's top Midget-A squad. The Inland Valley Wild, one of several teams mired in a second-place SCAHA logjam, delivered strong goaltending and error-free defense to escape with a 1-1 tie. After Inland Valley tied the game at 7:55 of the third period, Santa Clara put forth an all-out effort to regain the lead. But despite playing most of the balance of the game at the Wild end of the ice, the Hawks were unable to solve Inland Valley's netminder to gain the game winner.

Santa Clara's lone goal came early in the contest while on the power play. After a series of back and forth passes between Kyle Yedlicka and defenseman Derek Fredericks, Yedlicka fed behind the net to Patrick Castagna. Castagna delivered a shot that was stopped, but Yedlicka managed to corral the rebound and feed it over to defenseman Sam Boyer, who twisted the twine from right in front at 9:26. That was all that the Hawks would manage however, despite many chances along the way. Goaltender Devon Luna allowed only one goal on 14 shots, but that one goal not only earned the Wild a point, but it snapped Luna's even-strength scoreless streak at 207:44. Luna was tested on only a few occasions thanks to strong defensive play in front of him. But he did come up with game-saving rejections at 3:48 of the first period, and then again with just five seconds left in the second period after a rare defensive breakdown.

With a field of eight teams competing in the tournament, Santa Clara's needs to look at their next three games as "must wins." Even if they go 3-0-1, they could easily find themselves in a tiebreaker situation against the Wild. So goal differential may come into play, and if the Hawks are going to win that battle, they will need to get their offense untracked as they prepare to face off against the West Valley Wolves.

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