Gallery: Albert Lea beats Waseca, advances to quarterfinals
Published 9:16 pm Tuesday, February 18, 2014
The Albert Lea boys’ hockey team carried its winning streak through the last two games of the regular season and into the postseason.
The No. 4-seed Tigers beat No. 13-seed Waseca 4-1 Tuesday in the first round of the Section 1A tournament at Albert Lea City Arena to qualify for the quarterfinals.
The game was scoreless for the first five minutes. However, Albert Lea caught fire by scoring three goals in a two-minute span.
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Tigers defenseman Ben Kelly broke the ice with his second goal of the season to give Albert Lea a 1-0 edge. Andrew Thompson added a goal for the Tigers 32 seconds later on passes from Kohl Kriewall and Wyatt Paulsen. Jack Pulley passed the puck to Corde Purdie, who scored 1 minute and 16 seconds after Thompson to finish Albert Lea’s first-period scoring.
Albert Lea outshot Waseca 17-3 in the first 17 minutes.
The Tigers also outshot Waseca 10-4 in the second period, but the Bluejays cut their deficit to two goals when Cody Ulfers scored at the 13-minute mark.
In the third period, Albert Lea extended its lead back to three goals when Thompson passed the puck to Lucas Peterson who found the net.
All four of Albert Lea’s goals were scored by different players.
“I’m always happy when they spread the puck around,” said Albert Lea head coach Roy Nystrom.
The win advanced the Tigers to the section quarterfinals against Northfield. The No. 5-seed Raiders beat No. 12-seed Winona 3-0 Tuesday to qualify for the quarterfinals.
The last two years, Albert Lea was knocked out of the section tournament by Northfield. Last year, the Raiders beat the Tigers 3-2 at Northfield. In 2012, Northfield won 5-1 against Albert Lea at Rochester.
“It seems we’re always playing Northfield in the section,” Nystrom said. “We’re going to need to be a little more intense and play a little bit harder come Thursday.”
Puck drop is at 7 p.m. Thursday for the quarterfinal matchup. This time, it’s at Albert Lea.
The Tigers (15-10-1 overall, 11-6 Big Nine Conference) have an advantage over the Raiders (11-14-1 overall, 5-9 Missota Conference) in total wins, and Albert Lea beat Northfield 5-1 at home in its third game of the season.
However, the Tigers aren’t overconfident.
“We’re not going to take them lightly even though we beat them already,” said Albert Lea senior Van Zelenak. “We’re going to come in and play hard the whole way.”
After the Tigers began the season 5-6-1, they finished the season — including the win over Waseca — 10-4.
Northfield has been streaky. The Raiders began the season 2-5-1. They continued with four straight wins followed by six straight losses, and they won five of their last eight outings.
A full story with statistics in the Scoreboard: Feb. 18 post will follow.