Tigers move past Lancers
Published 9:24 pm Tuesday, February 17, 2015
Seven unanswered goals kept the Albert Lea boys’ hockey team’s season alive.
“We came out firing and getting pucks on net from the point,” said Tigers defenseman Brady Loch. “That’s been our thing all year.”
After La Crescent lit the lamp 23 seconds after the opening faceoff, Loch responded with a pair of goals, and Albert Lea advanced past the Lancers 7-1 Tuesday in the first round of the Section 1A tournament at Albert Lea City Arena.
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“We played well,” said Albert Lea coach Roy Nystrom. “Any time we can score seven goals and put the other team into running time, it’s good for us.”
The Tigers produced 64 shots on goal and had 28 in the first period. The Lancers had 21 for the entire game.
Garrett Matz led Albert Lea in the goal with 20 saves.
The Tigers extended their winning streak to four games and halted La Crescent’s winning streak at nine games, a span where the Lancers outscored their opponents 65-15.
Although La Crescent was the No. 10 seed in a 13-team section, the Lancers entered the game with a 19-6 overall record, the best in the section.
Following La Crescent’s early score, Nystrom said he had a message for his team.
“Wake up,” he said. “Set your alarm clock. We can’t fall asleep like that.”
The Tigers came to life four minutes later with Loch’s first goal from the point on a pass from Dalton Flatness. Loch gave Albert Lea its first lead of the game nine minutes into the period with assists from Flatness and Matt Carlson, and the Tigers never looked back.
Austin Dulitz scored on passes from E.J. Thomas and Alex Claassen about three minutes before the first intermission, and Albert Lea led 3-1 at the end of the first period.
With seven minutes left in the second period, Matt Carlson gave the Tigers a 4-1 lead.
In the third period, Bergen Lundak found the net on a power-play. Claassen added Albert Lea’s last two goals to pad the lead. The seven goals were the second-highest scoring output of the season for the Tigers. The only game Albert Lea scored more was Jan. 15 at Rochester Mayo with nine.
Next, Albert Lea (12-14, 7-11 Big Nine) will play in the Section 1A quarterfinals at 7 p.m. Thursday at Mankato West (17-6-2, 15-2-1 Big Nine), the No. 2 seed in the section and the Big Nine Conference champions.
The Scarlets began the season 5-5-1 but went 12-1-1 after that, including a 3-1 home win on Dec. 13, 2014 over Albert Lea and a 2-1 victory over the Tigers at Albert Lea on Feb. 5. In the second matchup, the game was tied 1-1 until Mankato West broke the tie with 28 seconds left in regulation.
“Last time they scored real late,” Nystrom said. “It’ll be a competitive game.”