Tigers top Falcons 6-3

Published 9:10 am Wednesday, December 17, 2008

Maybe the Albert Lea boys’ hockey team enjoys a good challenge.

The Tigers (4-0-0) fell behind for the third consecutive game, but they trailed for only 32 seconds as Albert Lea’s first line got the jump start it needed when Tyler Prihoda scored in the first period.

Faribault took an early 1-0 lead on a power play goal from Alex Larson, 13 minutes, 4 seconds into the first period.

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Thirty-two seconds later Prihoda scored the first of his two goals and Tigers cruised to a 6-3 win that kept them undefeated on the season.

Prihoda, Grant Stadheim, and Jordan Prescher-Smerud accounted for four of the six goals, much like the line did against Rochester Century Saturday when Albert Lea rallied from three goals down for a 5-3 win.

This one wasn’t as dramatic. The Tigers pasted the Falcons, recording 68 shots in the game and three power play goals.

Prihoda had two goals in the first period and had a handful of breakaway opportunities in the game. Stadheim put Albert Lea up 3-1 31 seconds into the second period and Prescher-Smerud added a goal at 11:12 in the second period. Life was pretty good for the first line Tuesday night at the City Arena.

“The first line is dynamite,” Tigers head coach Roy Nystrom said. “Those three guys are definitely top notch players.”

More than half of Albert Lea’s scoring has come from Stadheim, Prescher-Smerud and Prihoda thus far.

“We’ve got a lot of speed on that line,” Prescher-Smerud said. “We seem to know how to read each other well.”

Prihoda and Prescher-Smerud read each other well in the second period when Prihoda sent a pass from the right circle to the far post of the net where Prescher-Smerud one-timed it home for a 4-1 Tiger lead.

Prescher-Smerud set up Stadheim on a pretty scoring play in the beginning of the second period. Stadheim fired from the slot and scored on a one-timer.

That chemistry has been forged just this season as Prihoda moved from defenseman to forward.

The Tigers outhustled Faribault throughout the game, beating the Falcons to pucks in the corner with their speed.

The only blemish for the Tigers was penalties. Albert Lea had nine penalties in the game and gave up two power play goals, along with a short-handed goal.

“We have to stop taking so many penalties,” Prihoda said.

The Tigers were aggressive on the ice, finishing every check and harrassing Falcon puckhandlers. Albert Lea killed seven power plays, but even a man short, the Tigers held the puck in Faribault’s zone for a long while. In the second period Prescher-Smerud pressured the Falcon defense continually and held the puck in the Faribault zone by himself for nearly half a minute. Stadheim and Prihoda followed suit on other penalty kills.

“There’s no team that is going to beat us because we’re lazy I can tell you that,” Nystrom said. “They’re going to beat us by outworking us.”

Mike Falk had a goal at 3:45 in the third period and Dillon Stolt added one late to make the game 6-3.

John Wrolson made 26 saves in net for the Tigers.

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Faribault 1 1 1 — 3

Albert Lea 2 2 2 — 6

First Period— 1, Faribault, Alex Larson, (Bo Putrah, Ryan Dwyer), 13:04 (pp). 2, Albert Lea, Tyler Prihoda, (Jordan Prescher-Smerud) 13:36. 3, Albert Lea, Prihoda (Blake Adams, Taylor Draayer) 14:28 (pp).

Second Period— 4, Albert Lea, Grant Stadheim, (Jordan Prescher-Smerud) :31 (pp). 5, Albert Lea, Prescher-Smerud, (Prihoda, Stadheim) 11:12 (pp). 6, Faribault, Putrah, (Sean Lipinski, Jack Helgeson) 15:02 (pp).

Third period— 7, Faribault, Putrah, (Dwyer, Brandon Parker), 2:34 (sh). 8, Albert Lea, Mike Falk, (Tyler Brackey, Mitchell Sorenson), 3:45. 9, Albert Lea, Dillon Stolt, (Robert Peterson), 9:37.

Shots on Goal— Faribault 29. Albert Lea 68.