The Trappers (8-7-3, 5-2-3) beat Western Wyoming 2-0 before losing to Laramie County 4-0 and will head into this weekend’s Region IX tournament as the No. 5 seed.
Northwest will open the tournament against the No. 4 North Idaho Cardinals at 6:30 p.m. Friday in La Junta, Colo.
The Cardinals (10-5-2) were too much for the Trappers on two occasions early this season. Northwest lost 3-2 to North Idaho at home Aug. 25 and again in Coeur d’Alene, Idaho, 2-1 Sept. 1.
NWC head coach Rob Hill is eager for the match.
“I look forward to that game,” Hill said. “I felt like we didn’t produce our best game against them at home and we didn’t have a full strength squad when we faced them there.
“I feel like now we’re a much more prepared team and I think the guys are looking forward to that challenge.”
The Trappers will have to pick things up to find success at regionals.
After a three-game win streak from Oct. 4-9 during which they scored 14 goals, the Trappers have dropped three of four and scored a total of only five goals, just three of which came during live play.
“We went through a rough spell,” Hill said. “We didn’t finish the season as strong as we’d have liked. We played a lot better (over the weekend), certainly more consistent.”
The weekend started in promising fashion for the Trappers.
With the 4-9-1 Western Wyoming Mustangs in town, Northwest earned its fourth shutout of the season.
Freshman Matt Lowndes scored on two second-half penalty kicks, and that’s all the scoring Northwest would need in the 2-0 win.
Lowndes leads the Trappers with nine goals on the season.
Sophomore Erik Wehse stopped all seven shots the Mustangs sent his way. It was Wehse’s third shutout of the season.
The first-place Laramie County Golden Eagles poured it on early and often against Northwest Saturday afternoon.
Three first-half goals were more than enough to do away with the Trappers, who managed only two shots on the Laramie net.
“They’re top of the region and we didn’t play particularly well,” Hill said.
Besides tough Region IX opponents, Northwest will also battle a grueling schedule that will see them play two games in 24 hours if they advance out of the first round. A potential second-round game is scheduled for 3 p.m. on Saturday.
“That’s going to be one of the keys — managing the fatigue and injuries,” Hill said. “It’s absolutely brutal to go back-to-back-to-back games if you’re going to go all the way.
“It’s going to be a grueling effort for anybody, really.”