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Boys Hockey: Alexandria hands Warriors third straight loss

A lack of offense until the final six minutes and too many penalties cost the Brainerd Warriors Tuesday night at Essentia Health Sports Center. In a 5-2 loss to the Central Lakes-Conference-leading Alexandria Cardinals, the Warriors were limited ...

Brainerd’s Mitchell Andres goes after the puck as goalie Brady Mick protects the net Tuesday against Alexandria. (Kelly Humphrey, Brainerd Dispatch - Gallery)
Brainerd’s Mitchell Andres goes after the puck as goalie Brady Mick protects the net Tuesday against Alexandria. (Kelly Humphrey, Brainerd Dispatch - Gallery)

A lack of offense until the final six minutes and too many penalties cost the Brainerd Warriors Tuesday night at Essentia Health Sports Center.

In a 5-2 loss to the Central Lakes-Conference-leading Alexandria Cardinals, the Warriors were limited to 16 shots on net and were whistled for seven penalties, two of which resulted in power-play goals, and Brainerd was saddled with its third straight loss.

Brainerd was trying to rebound from a 7-4 loss to Moorhead and a 7-3 loss to Roseau.

"I just told those guys we were so much better tonight than we were last week," Warriors coach Dave Aus said. "We played really hard. We had trouble though tonight getting the puck to the net for whatever reason.

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Alexandria 5, Warriors 2

  • The key: The Cardinals scored the game's first five goals.
  • Conference: Brd 2-2-0, Alx 4-0-1
  • Overall: Brd 3-5-0, Alx 5-0-1
  • Next: Brainerd hosts Bemidji 3 p.m. Saturday.

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"We changed our forecheck. Actually I thought our forecheck worked pretty well at times, then we just didn't generate anything because we're not moving the puck. I thought our defensemen were open, but we really didn't move the puck there much tonight."

Ryan Marciniak scored a goal and added two assists, Christian Canavati contributed three assists and Alexandria outshot the Warriors 29-16.

Brainerd trailed just 2-0 entering the third when the Cardinals struck for three straight goals that demoralized the Warriors. Zach Johnson scored 14 seconds into the first shift, Jack Steffl scored at 4:47 and Marciniak tallied on a power play at 9:31 for a 5-0 edge.

"I thought if we had it 2-0 we would chip away in the third," Aus said. "I was proud of the guys. I told the guys I'm not into moral victories, but you know what? We played pretty hard. That's all you can ask from the group."

Matt Casperson scored on a power play and Cole Ball tallied in the final six minutes for the Warriors.

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Brainerd opened the second on a power play and soon after had a 2-man advantage before taking a penalty 26 seconds later.

Later in the second, the Warriors had another power-play opportunity ruined when Alexandria's Alex Wosepka tallied short-handed. Wosepka skated in on Warriors' goalie Brady Mick, went forehand to backhand and flicked the puck into the upper left corner.

"The short-handed goal was a big one," Aus said. "We just worked (Monday) on rotating when we get in trouble and about protecting because they can score shorthanded. But we got on the power play. I thought our power play was sloppy tonight. Again we work on it every day so I don't understand it. We were standing with the puck, not moving. That gets frustrating because that's something we spend a lot of time on and we should be better at it."

In the first, Alexandria outshot the Warriors 13-4 and was awarded two power plays, one of which it converted. Eli Heckert scored when the puck dropped in traffic in front of the Warriors' net and it got jammed past Mick.

The Warriors' Adam Fischer rang a pipe in the game's first three minutes. In the final minute of the first, Brainerd's Eric Stout passed to Josh Howieson but Howieson was denied by Cardinals' goalie Christian Reimers.

"When we hit the post - and Josh had one at the end - if we score in the first I think the game is different," Aus said. "But you know how it is. They kind of get momentum. They get two and the third one really killed us.

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Alexandria 1 1 3 - 5

Brainerd 0 0 2 - 2

First period: Alx-Eli Heckert (Christian Canavati) ppg 14:09

Second period: Alx-Alec Wosepka shg 11:16

Third period: Alx-Zach Johnson (Ryan Marciniak, Mack Strong) :14; Alx-Jack Steffl (Marciniak, Canavati) 4:47; Alx-Marciniak (Canavati, Parker Revering) ppg 9:31; Brd-Matt Casperson (Matt Blanch, Tory Miller) ppg 11:18; Brd-Cole Ball (Eric Stout, Josh Howieson) 16:09

Shots on goal: Alx 13-10-6-29, Brd 4-6-6-16

Goalies: Brd-Brady Mick (24 saves); Alx-Christian Reimers (14 saves).

MIKE BIALKA may be reached at mike.bialka@brainerddispatch.com or 855-5861. Follow on Twitter at www.twitter.com/bertsballpark .

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