Too much Hart

Published 1:08 am Wednesday, December 15, 2010

Austin Josh Hart after scoring his first goal in the first period against Mankato East Tuesday night at Riverside Arena. - Eric Johnson/

Austin senior Josh Hart did something he hasn’t done since he was a pee wee hockey player as the Packers bested Mankato East 6-4 in Riverside Arena Tuesday.

Hart netted a hat trick and he added an assist as Austin fired off 82 shots on goal to get its first win of the season.

“We just had to keep firing shots at the goal. We figured if we kept firing, we’d end up with some goals and we did,” said Hart. “It’s not like I’m out there trying to score goals for me, I’m trying to score goals to make the team win.”

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Hart scored in every period as he tapped in a rebound in the first, scored on an unassisted goal in the second and he put one right through the legs of Mankato East’s goalie Lucas Weihle in the third to make it 5-3. The third goal looked like Weihle had stopped it before it trickled just past the red line.

Austin's Nick Castellano puts a shot on Mankato East goalie Lucas Wiehe during the first period Tuesday night at Riverside Arena. - Eric Johnson/

“It was really slow motion for me and I didn’t think it was going to go in,” Hart said.

Hart’s lone assist came 15 seconds into the game when he found Devin McCune from behind the net. McCune added a powerplay goal in the third period that also went through Weighle’s legs to make it 6-3.

“We know we can beat these guys pretty badly,” McCune, a senior, said. “We didn’t beat them by as much as we thought we would by, but we still got them. The conference is down (this year), so this is our chance to make something for ourselves.”

Austin sophomore goalie Rainer Londino-Green stopped 18 of the 22 shots he saw. He made a big save in the second period when he jumped out and broke up a breakaway opportunity for Travis Volk of the Cougars.

“He did a very nice job. The goals that they did score, we didn’t give him any help,” Austin head coach Tim Peterson said of Londino-Green. “Two were rebound goals and if he makes that first save, we’ve got to expect our guys to clear out and get the puck out of there.”

East (1-4 overall, 0-1 Big Nine) tied the game early in the first at one, but after that Austin (1-2 overall, 1-1 Big Nine) always had an answer for the Cougars. Freshman Nick Castellano gave Austin a 2-1 lead when he skated past two defenseman and faked out the goalie to score in the first period and the Packers led the rest of the way.

Hart’s last goal came just one minute after East had pulled to with 4-3 on a breakaway goal.

“It kind of motivates us when they score, because then we’ve got to go out and get another one,” Hart said.

The game got physical in the last few minutes as the Cougars picked up a couple of penalties, but Peterson made sure his squad didn’t get carried away. In all, 17 total penalties were called.

“I called a timeout to calm them down,” Peterson said. “We just wanted to finish out the game strong and take the victory.”

Peterson was glad to have a big shot advantage, but he was hoping his team could’ve cashed in a few more times.

“Shots are great, but they don’t count on the scoreboard,” he said. “I’m pleased with how they responded to them scoring, they could’ve cashed it in and let them come back in it, but we pulled through.”


Mankato East 2 0 2 — 4

Austin              3 1 2 — 6

First period

(A) Devin McCune (Josh Hart) 0:15

(ME) Austin Willert 2:34

(A) Nick Castellano (Tyler Stevens) 9:12

(A) Josh Hart (Ethan Larson) 10:12

(ME) Dylan Boettcher (Ben Neyers) 16:45

Second period

(A) Hart 7:38

Third period

(ME) Derrick Davis :24

(A) Hart 1:18

(A) McCune (powerplay) (Stoulil) 9:48

(ME) Willert (powerplay) (Brent Adams) 11:16

Power plays: Austin — 1-for-9; Mankato East — 1-for-8