West Bend, WI – The West Bend Power are buckling up for a home-and-away set against the Wausau Cyclones this weekend. The home game, on Friday Oct. 13 is Mental Health Awareness Night in conjunction with NAMI Washington County sponsored by DNA Hemp at 7:30pm CST. The away game this weekend takes place the following night on Saturday, Oct. 14 at Marathon Park. Puck drop in Wausau is at 7:10pm.
The West Bend Power lost their first two games of the season on Friday Oct. 6 and Saturday Oct. 7 against the Oregon Tradesmen and will look to get back on track in this first series of the year with the Wausau Cyclones. They fell 6-1 to the Tradesmen Friday and pushed Saturday’s game to a shoot-out but came up short 5-4. Rocco Cicirello was the Versi-foam Hard Hat Player of the Game Friday and Jace Fitzgerald is the Kundinger Power Player of the weekend, scoring twice in Saturday night’s shootout loss.
The Power will look for a balanced scoring effort this weekend to kick start their offense. Winning face-offs and disciplined play, staying out of the box, as well as competing at a high level for three periods will be key factors on the weekend. “We need to be focused for 60 minutes of the game this weekend against Wausau in order to bounce back from a tough weekend against Oregon,” said Power Captain Max Mudge. “This week in practice we’ve been working on cleaning up the areas we underperformed in which should help us get back on track.”
Across the Aisle
The Wausau Cyclones hope to bounce back from a disappointing 2022-23 season where they went 13-30-4 and missed the playoffs for the first time since rebranding from the RiverWolves in 2021. However, they are led by fiery second year Head Coach Nathan Oystrick. Oystrick primarily played his professional career with the American Hockey League’s Chicago Wolves and won a Calder Cup with the team in 2008.
At forward, two of the Cyclones’ top point scorers, Gabe Randel and Ricky Nelson, are coming back for their second seasons with Wausau. Randel was tied for the team lead in assists and third in points. He racked up 43 points (12 goals, 31 assists) in 47 games played in 2022-23. Ricky Nelson also contributes offensively, but with more sandpaper. Nelson was fourth on the team in penalty minutes with 95 and notched 41 points (16 goals, 25 assists) in 44 games played last season.
Defense is a strong suit so far for Wausau this season. The Cyclones have allowed only 15 goals through seven games, the least in the central division. Their blue line is bolstered by Czech defenseman Adam Nápravník. Nápravník used his 6’4’ 194-pound frame to garner 117 penalty minutes through 44 games played in 2022-23. His veteran counterpart on the back end, Easton Plachetka, looks to garner more minutes in his second NA3HL season with Wausau. Plachetka earned 9 points (3 goals, 6 assists) during his 40-game rookie year. Collin Lemanski returns to Wausau for his first full season with the Cyclones, after being traded midseason by the Austin Ice Bats. Despite posting a 7-21-2 record during the 2022-23 campaign, Lemanski recorded a 0.9196 save percentage and 4.15 goals allowed average. Through five games this year, Lemanski is 4-1 with a 0.950 save percentage and 1.60 goals allowed average. His backup is rookie net minder Tanner Bonjernoor. Bonjernoor has started two games this year going 0-2 with a 0.887 save percentage and 3.00 goals allowed average.
Broadcaster Frank Zawrazky returns for the Mental Health Awareness Night versus the Wausau Cyclones on Friday, Oct. 13. All games this season are streaming on www.nahltv.com.