Tigers trump Faribault

Published 2:25 am Friday, January 29, 2010

It happened in a flash, but that’s the way the entire second period felt Thursday night at City Arena when the Albert Lea boys’ hockey team faced ninth-ranked Faribault.

Tigers senior defenseman Casey Marka jumped out of the penalty box behind the Falcons defense, received a pass from Tyler Brackey and skated into the Faribault zone for a one-on-one with the goaltender. Marka buried his shot over the left shoulder of the goaltender to cap off a wild second period and put Albert Lea up 5-3.

“When’s the last time you’ve seen that?” Tigers head coach Roy Nystrom asked. “I can’t remember the last time I’ve seen that. I’ve seen it happen in the pros. I don’t think I’ve ever seen it in a game that I’ve coached — and believe me I’ve coached 1,000 games.”

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The goal helped give the Tigers (8-9-1) a 6-4 victory in a game where they outworked and outmuscled the Falcons for the majority of the game. It also gave Faribault its first conference loss and served notice to the rest of Section 1A that this year might prove one of the more contentious battles in recent years.

The Falcons (12-5) beat both New Prague and Mankato West 5-1 while the Tigers entered with a 3-2 record against section opponents and a 5-4 loss to New Prague.

But back to that goal for a minute.

Marka’s goal stood as the game-winner after a furious second period that featured four goals in a span of 2 minutes, 35 seconds and swung the momentum of the game back in Albert Lea’s favor.

Mason Tuohy started the scoring in the second period with a goal from in front of the Faribault goal on a rebound from his initial shot to give Albert Lea a 3-1 lead at 2:10.

The Falcons got a shorthanded goal 30 seconds later from Jack Helgeson to make it a 3-2 game, but Eric Carlson scored an unassisted goal to put the Tigers up 4-2.

Prior to Marka’s goal Faribault made it a 4-3 game when George Richie scored a power-play goal and the Falcons went on the power play again when Marka went to the penalty box for boarding.

Albert Lea won for the fourth time in its past five games and played arguably its best game of the season against the Falcons.

“I would say these kids are playing the kind of hockey I’d like to see them play where we’re playing good defense, they’re not giving up a lot of odd-man rushes, we’re starting to win a lot of the one-on-one battles in the corners and offensively we’re clicking on some pretty good cylinders,” Nystrom said. “I think the kids are starting to believe in themselves.”

The Tigers were also the more physical team. The forecheck worked to keep Faribault from flying around the rink and create scoring chances for the Tigers.

Albert Lea also kept Falcons forward Bo Putrah off the board. Putrah entered the game as the third leading goal scorer in the conference, but he tallied just one assist.

Tyler Brackey scored two goals in the first period to set the tone. The two goals gave Brackey four in his past five games after going the five previous without a goal.

Tuohy finished with a goal and an assist while Eric Carlson and Dillon Stolt each scored goals.

Albert Lea 6, Faribault 4

Albert Lea 2 3 1 — 6

Faribault 1 2 1 — 4

First Period—1, Albert Lea, Tyler Brackey (Durrell Latrell, David Enstad), 1:58 (pp.). 2, Faribault, Ryan Dwyer (Brandon Parker, Isaac Dahl), 4:05. 3, Albert Lea, Tyler Brackey (Latrell, Mason Tuohy), 7:06. Penalties—Parker, Far (hooking), 1:09; Austin Larson, Alb (holding), 2:59; Brandon Teske, Far (hooking), 4:43; Jack Helgeson, Far (unsportsmanlike conduct), 13:05.

Second Period—4, Albert Lea, Tuohy (Latrell), 2:10. 5, Faribault, Helgeson (Bo Putrah), 2:40 (sh.). 6, Albert Lea, Eric Carlson (unassisted), 3:29. 7, Faribault, George Richie (Dwyer), 4:45 (pp.). 8, Albert Lea, Casey Marka (Brackey), 7:52. Penalties—Dillon Stolt, Alb (high sticking), 2:44; Sean Lipinski, Far (high sticking), 2:44; Casey Marka, Alb (cross checking), 3:10; Marka, Alb (boarding), 5:46; Teske, Far (hooking), 14:56.

Third Period—9, Albert Lea, Stolt (Carlson), 11:17. 10, Faribault, Parker (Helgeson), 12:01. Penalties—Enstad (tripping), 5:55; Putrah, Far (hooking), 16:55.

Shots on Goal—Faribault 6-10-13—29. Albert Lea 15-11-9—35.

Power-play opportunities—Faribault 1 of 4; Albert Lea 1 of 5.