Boys Hockey: Another Andres supplies game-winner in OT to nip Bemidji
Warriors 2, Bemidji 1 OT The key: Riley Andres scored 1:11 into overtime Overall: Brd 10-7-1, Bem 9-7-1 Section 8-2A: Brd 4-3, Bem 4-4 Next: Brainerd at Sauk Rapids-Rice 7:15 p.m. Thursday. When a game's on the line, it's a good thing if the puck...
Warriors 2, Bemidji 1 OT
The key: Riley Andres scored 1:11 into overtime
Overall: Brd 10-7-1, Bem 9-7-1
Section 8-2A: Brd 4-3, Bem 4-4
Next: Brainerd at Sauk Rapids-Rice 7:15 p.m. Thursday.
When a game's on the line, it's a good thing if the puck is on the stick of one of the Andres brothers.
Tuesday at Essentia Health Sports Center it was sophomore Riley Andres' turn to decide a game, tallying 71 seconds into overtime to give the Brainerd Warriors a tingling 2-1 victory over the Bemidji Lumberjacks. It was Riley's first game-winner of the season while brother Mitchell has provided three and brother Gavin two.
Riley Andres pilfered a pass deep in the Bemidji zone and made the Lumberjacks pay as he blasted an unassisted shot past Bemidji goalie Matt Fitzgerald.
"They were going to come out on us," Riley said, "so I was getting back to get out of the zone. The (defenseman) didn't know what was going on. I could see he was going to hit a guy in the slot so I stepped up. The puck came right on my tape. Right above his shoulder was an opening and I just shot there."
The goal was Riley's sixth of the season and his 10th point.
"It was a tremendous shot," Warriors coach Dave Aus said. "I'm sure their defenseman wishes he wouldn't have thrown it. That's why you don't throw a puck up the middle. It was right on (Riley's) tape. There was nobody near him.
"But with that said, the goalie he was shooting on was very good. It was a huge shot, a big-time shot."
The game-winner overshadowed brilliant goaltending by Fitzgerald and Brainerd's James Engen. Fitzgerald blocked 25 shots and Engen 28. Engen blanked the Lumberjacks for all but 35 seconds in regulation. He was butterflying all over the crease, stymieing numerous Bemidji shots with sliding pad saves.
"He was beautiful, probably one of the main reasons we won the game," Riley Andres said of Engen.
The Warriors' senior netminder improved his record to 7-2. He entered the contest with a 2.55 goals-against average and .878 save percentage.
"He can really get in a zone it seems like," Aus said. "Even the last two years, and a couple times that we played them in scrimmages, he had stretches where you could see he was really zoned in. He was tremendous."
For about the first period and a half, it was an up-and-down-the-ice affair with the teams trading chances. Brainerd's Joe Klang finally broke the ice with an unassisted score at 12:39 of the second. The sophomore defenseman rushed the length of the ice, two Bemidji defenders surrounded him, he slithered through them and jammed in his first varsity goal.
"I thought he was going to try to chip it in because he was outnumbered," Aus said. "The next thing I turn and look right when he's at the net front. I don't know if the puck bounced up and over. It just looked like it was bouncing. That was huge.
"The thing about Joe is his skating is just so tremendous. He really can separate himself from guys when he gets the puck. I really wish he would skate it more than he does and I think as he gets older he will."
In the final minute of regulation, Engen made a shoulder save with about 90 seconds remaining on Bemidji's Alex Pollock. The Lumberjacks pulled Fitzgerald with 80 seconds left and Mitch Andres just missed the open net with a coast-to-coast shot with 65 seconds remaining.
Engen lost his shutout with 35 seconds left. Bemidji's Ryan Pogue whacked in a rebound to Engen's left to tie it 1-1. The victory raised Brainerd's Section 8-2A record to 4-3.
"Other than (Colin) Kleffman being the backup (goalie), I thought all of the other 18 guys contributed," Aus said. "There were not a whole lot of bad mistakes-there was a few-but that's why we gave up only one goal. It was good goaltending, then playing the game the right way. That's what we've been preaching. We've just got to keep getting better."
Bemidji 0 0 1 0-1
Brainerd 0 1 0 1-2
Second period: Brd-Joe Klang 12:39
Third period: Bem-Ryan Pogue (Chase Hartje, Jaret Lalli) 16:25
Overtime: Brd-Riley Andres 1:11
Shots on goal: Brd 6-10-5-6--27, Bem 11-6-12-0--29
Goalies: Brd-James Engen (28 saves); Bem-Matt Fitzgerald (25 saves).