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Boys hockey: Inexperienced Tigers are learning on the job

Farmington goaltender Nick Schoening prepares to stop a Hastings shot during Saturday's season opener at Hastings Civic Arena. The Tigers fell behind early and lost 6-2.

Seven players saw their first career varsity ice time as the Farmington boys hockey team fell 6-2 in its regular-season opener against Hastings Saturday at Hastings Civic Arena.

"It sounds a little bit worse than it was. We played better and better as the game went on, which is something we can build on as we move forward," Farmington coach Keith Revels said. "We are young and a work in progress.... It was a tough opening night opponent, but a good test for a young team."

The Raiders, who return 13 letter-winners from last year's team that made it all the way to the section finals, took control early with four unanswered goals as they out-shot Farmington 13-8 in the first period.

The Tigers got on the board on an unassisted power-play score by Kevin Olund at the 4:34 mark.

Play tightened up after that, with the two teams skating to a 1-1 draw in the second period. Hastings went up 5-1 courtesy of an early power-play goal, but Justin Novak's first career tally (assist to Olund) pulled the visitors back within three.

The Tigers thought they had scored again early in the third, but had what Revels described as a "controversial goal" taken off the board. The Raiders pushed their lead back to four goals with another score in the final two minutes.

"That goal would have made things interesting," Revels said.

Nick Schoening played all 51 minutes in net in his second career start and stopped 26 of 32 Hastings shots. Raider goaltender Matt Radke stopped 19 of 21 shots.

"Nick Schoening played well," Revels said. "He got some good on-the-job experience. We left him hanging with guys open in front a couple times."

The Tigers are back on the road for a pair of games this week in Rochester. They faced Rochester John Marshall Tuesday and take on Rochester Century tonight at the Rochester Rec Center.