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Tigers get past Rockets

Albert Lea boys’ hockey head coach Roy Nystrom anticipated playing in a lot of tight games this season, but Saturday’s 4-3 victory over John Marshall at City Arena felt a little more dramatic than it should have.

“I told the boys that a long time ago,” Nystrom said about playing in close games. “I told them at the beginning of the year we’re going to have a lot of tight games.”

Albert Lea played in its seventh one-goal game, but the margin of victory could have been much wider against the Rockets.

The Tigers (10-9-1, 6-2 Big Nine) peppered John Marshall goalie Bryan King with 40 shots but didn’t score the game-winning goal until 6 minutes, 44 seconds remained in the game. Eric Carlson’s second goal of the game put the finishing touches on the Rockets.

“There’s no question we controlled most of the game,” Nystrom said.

Albert Lea looked in control for the majority of the game, but John Marshall continued to find ways to hang around.

The Rockets gained some momentum in the third period when they scored at 11:48 to tie the game and even had a chance to tie the game again in the final minute. John Marshall pulled its goalie with a minute to go and Albert Lea committed a penalty with 34 seconds to play to give the Rockets a 6-on-4 advantage. The Tigers killed off the final 34 seconds and won for the sixth time in seven games to move above the .500 mark for the first time since Dec. 10.

With 40 shots on goal the Tigers had plenty of opportunities. Albert Lea hit two pipes in the game and had several scoring chances just miss.

“We had some nice point-blank shots too and shot them right in the bullseye,” Nystrom said.

Tyler Brackey put Albert Lea up 2-0, 35 seconds into the second period with a power-play goal. Brackey found himself all alone in the slot and buried a shot past King for his ninth goal of the season. David Enstad later added a shorthanded goal on a shot from the point to make it a 3-1 game.

The Tigers play Tuesday against Mankato West in Mankato.

Albert Lea 4, John Marshall 3

John Marshall 0 2 1 — 3

Albert Lea 1 2 1 — 4

First Period—1, Albert Lea, Eric Carlson (Dillon Stolt, Cody Haaland), 11:44. Penalties—None.

Second Period—2, Albert Lea, Tyler Brackey (Cody Anderson, Mason Tuohy), 0:35. 3, John Marshall, Ryan Yetzer (unassisted), 2:43. 4, Albert Lea, David Enstad (Stolt, Carlson), 5:40 (sh.). 5, John Marshall, Yetzer (unassisted), 14:02. Penalties—Eric Mackey, JM (tripping), 0:17; Casey Marka, Alb (tripping), 5:18; Marka, Alb (interference), 11:08; Tom Foley, JM (roughing), 14:25.

Third Period—6, John Marshall, Reed Miller (Matt Broman), 11:48. 7, Albert Lea, Eric Carlson (Levi Hacker), 13:16. Penalties—Marka, Alb (elbowing), 7:36; Tyler Haaland, Alb (tripping), 16:26.

Shots on Goal—John Marshall 5-9-8—22. Albert Lea 14-9-17—40.

Power-play opportunities—John Marshall 0 of 4; Albert Lea 1 of 2.

Goalies—John Marshall, Bryan King (40 shots-36 saves). Albert Lea, John Wrolson (22-19).