Boys Hockey: Seniors go out with section quarterfinal victory
With 13 seniors playing on home ice for the last time, the delegation was determined not to end their careers at Brainerd Area Civic Center with a defeat.
Following a scoreless first period, the third-seeded Brainerd Warriors bumped up their intensity and scored four times in the second. They finished with a 5-1 victory over the No. 6 Monticello-Annandale-Maple Lake Moose in the Section 8-2A quarterfinals Tuesday night.
“It’s a little emotional, knowing it will be my last time playing here in front of the fans in my home barn,” Warrior senior right wing Jake Ellingson said. “I’ve been (on the varsity) for three years now. It is a little bit emotional, and it was good to get the win too, especially in a big game like that.”
The win moved Brainerd into the section semifinals at No. 2 Moorhead, which eliminated No. 7 St. Cloud Tech 8-0 in Tuesday’s quarterfinal. The teams split during the regular season, with the Spuds winning 4-2 in Brainerd Jan. 9 and the Warriors winning 5-3 at Moorhead Jan. 30.
“That’s one down,” Warriors coach Jim Archibald said. “The boys can enjoy the win, but (Wednesday) after school we go back to work. We’ve got a big game to prepare for on Saturday.
“We know that we’ve got all the tools we need. The biggest thing, as we told the boys tonight, there’s one thing we can control, and they’re the only ones who can control it, and that’s their effort. If they come out and give us 100 percent every shift, we’re very confident we’re going to come out on the right side of the scoreboard.”
“We feel confident we can come out with a win there,” he said, “but we know it will be a tough game. If we play our style of hockey, we can definitely get it done.
“It helped a lot (to win at Moorhead) but anything can happen in the playoffs.”
Brainerd won Tuesday by receiving another top-flight effort from its top line and limiting the Moose’s chances.
Ellingson, center Logan Rivard and left wing Cole Smith combined to score four goals and collected three assists. Nate DeChaine scored the final Warrior goal with 36.4 seconds remaining.
Ellingson had a goal and two assists, Rivard scored two goals and Smith added a goal and assist.
“We really stepped up there in the second period,” Ellingson said. “We were making passes to each other, looking for each other, going to the open holes, finishing our checks, doing the little things right.”
Sophomore goalie Brady Mick blanked the Moose until 47.7 seconds remained. The Moose were limited to six shots in each of the first two periods and finished with 21. Brainerd killed three penalties, including a 4-on-3 in the third, before the Moose’s Sam Johnson scored.
Following a scoreless first, the Warriors got rolling in the second, outshooting the Moose 15-6 and surviving two penalties.
Logan Rivard opened the scoring with a rebound at 49 seconds.
More than four minutes later, Rivard tallied again. In a 2-on-1 rush with Smith, he bounced the puck between the pads of Moose goalie Darien Jones.
Smith scored a pretty short-handed goal at 9:10. He secured a loose puck at his blue line and squirted around a Moose defender. He then skated toward Jones, got him to drop to the ice and stuffed the puck behind him for a 3-0 edge.
Ellingson closed the second-period scoring at 10:56 with a laser under the crossbar.
A scoreless first featured the Moose getting a few quality shots early and being pesky, poking pucks away from Warriors and relentlessly forechecking.
The Warriors led in shots 9-6 but failed to take advantage of two power plays. Brainerd’s top chances included a Peter Dahl shot from the slot, Smith grazed the post, Ellingson hit iron from in front and Alex Mimmack clanged a howitzer off the crossbar.
“We actually talked about that as coaches,” Archibald said. “We were saying among ourselves that maybe we need to change our warmup at the start of the game, maybe the guys aren’t getting into the game, aren’t getting a good enough sweat so they can come out flying. We’ll talk about that (Wednesday) and have a look at how we prepare before the first period.”
Monticello-A-ML 0 0 1 — 1
Brainerd 0 4 1 — 5
Second period: B-Logan Rivard (Chris Pohlkamp, Jake Ellingson) :49; B-Logan Rivard (Ellingson) 4:59; B-Cole Smith shg 9:10; B-Ellingson (Smith) 10:56
Third period: MAML-Sam Johnson (Mason Vetsch, Justin Wilson) 16:13; B-Nate DeChaine (Matt Blanch, Pohlkamp) 16:24
Shots on goal: Brd 9-15-5—29, MAML 6-6-9—21
Goalies: Brd-Brady Mick (20 saves); MAML-Darien Jones (24 saves).