Late goal sends Scarlets past Tigers
Published 9:37 pm Thursday, February 5, 2015
The trend continued.
After sweeping the regular-season series against Rochester Mayo on Jan. 15, the Albert Lea boys’ hockey team has lost six consecutive games in heartbreaking fashion: two were in overtime, and all six were by one goal.
Albert Lea had a chance to halt the streak at five, but Mankato West’s Austin Langworthy scored the go-ahead goal with 28.7 seconds left in regulation to beat the Tigers 2-1 Thursday at Albert Lea City Arena.
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“Nobody is really taking it to us,” said Tigers coach Roy Nystrom. “We’re every bit as good as anybody we’ve been playing — and maybe better than some — but in order to win the game you’ve got to score goals, and we’re not.”
Five of the six losses were against teams in the top half of the 12-team Big Nine Conference standings. Mankato West (14-6-2, 13-2-1 Big Nine) is at the top of the standings.
The skid hasn’t grown from a lack of effort, Nystrom said.
“We played our hearts out,” he said. “Every game we’ve played our hearts out. Sooner or later, something good has got to happen to this team.”
Mankato West outshot Albert Lea 19-7 in the first period and took a 1-0 lead on a power-play goal by Kyle Looft with 8:34 before the first intermission.
The Tigers held the Scarlets to nine shots in the second period and peppered Mankato West’s goalie with 16 shots, but Albert Lea was held scoreless.
“It’s a game of mistakes — and we certainly made some — but we forced them into making some in that second period, too,” Nystrom said. “It was a heck of a period, but we came away with nothing.”
With 8:45 left in regulation, Albert Lea’s Foster Otten scored the equalizer. Lucas Hacker and Tanner Bellrichard were credited with assists.
Mankato West took the lead back with 28.7 seconds on the clock, but Albert Lea still had a chance. However, a crossing pass by Jack Pulley sailed through the chaos in front of the net, and the Scarlets hung on.
Garrett Matz led the Tigers in the goal. He faced 39 shots and made 37 saves.
Albert Lea (8-13, 5-10 Big Nine) will look to break out of its funk at 7:30 p.m. Saturday at Owatonna (8-11-2, 6-6-2 Big Nine).