Tigers suffer disappointing loss in section semis

Published 12:00 am Wednesday, February 13, 2008

OWATONNA &8212; There was something different about the Albert Lea girls&8217; hockey team&8217;s bench during Wednesday&8217;s Section 1A semifinal. Tigers&8217; head coach Brian Blatti was missing and in his place was Athletic Director Clay Anderson.

Unfortunately, that wasn&8217;t the biggest thing missing for Albert Lea as it appeared to leave its game behind as well.

The Tigers did not look like themselves from the drop of the first puck until the horn sounded on a 6-0 dismantling by Faribault.

Email newsletter signup

&8220;(Blatti) is in the hospital right now and not doing very well right now and we don&8217;t know what it is for sure,&8221; Anderson said. &8220;He wasn&8217;t feeling real well and went home at 10 o&8217;clock this morning sick and went to the hospital.&8221;

Anderson said the coach&8217;s absence had an effect on the team.

&8220;It absolutely no doubt had and influence on it,&8221; he said. &8220;It throws you out of your whole routine when you&8217;re expecting the guy who is your head coach to be there and he is not. When you have young players they handle it differently. There is no doubt it had an effect on our play today and we knew it would.&8221;

The two teams split a pair of matchups in the regular season with the Tigers winning the first 5-2 before dropping the second 7-6.

However, the shots, much less the goals, were hard for the Tigers to come by on this night.

Albert Lea managed just one shot in the first period as the Falcons played a physical game and dominated in their offensive zone. But the first period would end in a scoreless tie giving the Tigers some hope they could turn the game in their favor.

&8220;We told them after the first period that we didn&8217;t play well, but we were still right in this,&8221; Anderson said. &8220;But that second period killed us.&8221;

The Falcons (14-13) took control of the game in the second period scoring a pair of power play goals off the stick of Krista Bjoraker and she would net the hat trick at the midpoint of the period putting Faribault up 3-0.

Katie Dickison would collect the team&8217;s fourth goal with 5:30 to go in the period forcing the Tigers to call their lone timeout.

&8220;Faribault, for whatever reason, had more energy and got to more pucks tonight,&8221; Anderson said.

Faribault would score two more times with Bjoraker getting her fourth tally and Megan Bergland scoring an empty net goal with just over a minute left in the game.

Albert Lea managed just four shots through the first two periods finishing the game with 11 while the Falcons had 26.

The Falcons advance to Saturday&8217;s section final where they will face Austin which beat Red Wing 7-4 in the first game of the night.

Albert Lea concludes a strong season which saw it ranked in the top 15 in Class A through a good portion of the season with a 16-10 mark.

&8220;I think everyone is disappointed when you thought you were going to at least make it to the section finals and get a shot at Austin,&8221; Anderson said. &8220;It is a tough one.&8221;