Friday, February 3, 2023

Hockey: 10-goal effort pushes Alexandria into Section 6A finals, Olson records another hat trick

ST. CLOUD – With a 10-goal effort in Saturday’s Section 6A semifinal game against the Morris-Benson Area Storm, the Alexandria (18-6-2) boys hockey team is now in Thursday’s section finals.

“We scored goals when we moved the puck,” Alexandria head coach Josh Meyers said. “I think early on, we were playing a little too selfish and it wasn’t really working. They were able to block shots. But once we started moving the puck a little bit more, things started opening up for us.”

The Cardinals are now in the Section 6A finals and play the Northern Lakes versus Fergus Falls Saturday semifinal winner. The Cardinals have scored double-digit goals in back-to-back games as they hung 19 on Breckenridge-Wahpeton in the quarterfinals on Wednesday.

Alexandria, the top seed in Section 6A, has had its two highest-scoring outputs of the season come in its two playoff games.

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Alexandria’s Nicholas Peterson (29 in white) and Jack Brietzman (22 in white) attempt to score in a Section 6A semifinal game against Morris-Benson Area on Feb. 26, 2022. Both Peterson and Brietzman scored in Alexandria’s 10-2 win.

Sam Stuve / Alexandria Echo Press

This is a trend the Cardinals obviously hope will continue in the finals against whichever team they face. And their attention is now set on the finals.
“This game, now that it’s done with, we forget about it,” Meyers said. “Maybe we’ll watch the video just on some things to tidy up. But the focus now is whomever we’re playing next. And we know that we got to play a lot better on Thursday to come out of the section. So that’s the main focus.”

While the score was lopsided at the end of Saturday’s semifinal, it didn’t appear that things would go that way in the middle of the second period.

The fifth-seeded Storm (14-12-1) made it a one-goal game at 3-2 during the middle of the second period (8:40).

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Morris-Benson Area’s Brady DeHaan scoring a goal in a Section 6A semifinal game on Feb. 26. Alexandria defeated Morris Benson-Area 10-2.

Sam Stuve / Alexandria Echo Press

The Cardinals scored three goals in the final six minutes of the frame to push their lead to 6-2 heading into the third period.

“It was a very tight game,” Meyers said. “It felt like things shifted a little bit more. [I think] Benson felt like there’s no way they can come back from a 5-2 deficit.”

Junior forward Joe Lamski scored (12:02) the first of his two goals to start the late second frame run. Sophomore Leo Kompelien and junior defender Henry Ramstorf had the assist.

“It was a great response to their 3-2 goal to go up 4-2,” Meyers said.

From there, sophomore Gavin Olson scored his second goal of the night (14:15) to put the Cardinals up 5-2. Lamski had the assist.

“At that point, the fifth goal was so important,” Meyers said. “We were able to do that, which really made a big difference.”

Olson capped off his hat trick less than two minutes later with a goal (16:24) that put the Cardinals up 6-2.

“I was just battling and looked at Leo [Kompelien]he fed the puck to me up front for a one-timer and I fired him in there,” Olson said about his third goal.

Olson recorded his second straight hat trick in Alexandria’s 10-2 win. Olson got the scoring started for the Cardinals with a goal off an assist from junior defenseman Mason Loch.

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Alexandria’s Gavin Olson watches the first of his three goals against Morris-Benson Area, find the back of the net. Alexandria beat Morris-Benson Area 10-2 in the Section 6A semifinals on Feb. 26, 2022.

Sam Stuve / Alexandria Echo Press

In the third frame, the Cardinals outscored the Storm 4-0.

“It feels great, just not starting off the best and then coming out and beating them,” Olson said.

The Cardinals had a balanced attack against the Storm. Seven different Cardinals scored goals on Saturday, while nine different players had an assist.

Being the top-seed in the section, the Cardinals say that they don’t feel like there’s a ton of pressure on them.

“I think teams have to watch out for us because we are the one seed,” Olson said. “We’re playing really well right now.”

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Alexandria’s Brycen Berg tries to control the puck near the boards in a game against Morris-Benson Area on Feb. 26, 2022. Alexandria advanced to the Section 6A finals with a 10-2 win over MBA.

Sam Stuve / Alexandria Echo Press

The Cardinals are 10-0-1 since Jan. 21 and have scored three goals or more in nine of those 11 games.

“It feels like we own games; we control everything,” senior defenseman Nicholas Peterson said. “We just got to keep grinding down low, putting pucks on net and crashing the net.”

Alexandria finished with a 39-13 shots-on-goal advantage.

Senior Teagan Pfeffer earned the win in net for the Cardinals with 11 saves.

Alexandria has wins over both No.2-seeded Fergus Falls and third-seeded Northern Lakes. Alexandria beat Fergus Falls 5-2 on Jan. 6 and 3-0 on Feb. 15. In their one meeting of the season, Alexandria beat Northern Lakes 6-4 on Feb. 12. Northern Lakes and Fergus Falls plays for a trip to the section championship game at 7 pm on Saturday.

The Section 6A finals game is on Thursday in St. Cloud at the MAC. Puck drops on Thursday at 7 pm

Morris-Benson – 1 1 0 – 2

GOALS – Ryan Tolifson, Brady DeHaan

ASSISTS – Tim Blume, Hunter Blume, Ryan Tolifson

GOALS – Gavin Olson (3), Joe Lamski (2), Tyler Kludt, Brennan Lattimer, Jack Breitzman, Josiah Gronzholz, Nicholas Peterson

ASSISTS – Mason Loch, Joe Lamski (2), Tyler Kludt, Henry Ramstorf, Leo Kompelien (2), Nicholas Peterson, Pieter Mulder (2), Brycen Berg

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