Boys Hockey: Spuds squash Warriors state hopes
MOORHEAD--Moorhead senior left winger Sam Entzion greeted Brainerd fans less than two minutes into Saturday's Section 8-2A semifinal matchup. He was not polite.
MOORHEAD-Moorhead senior left winger Sam Entzion greeted Brainerd fans less than two minutes into Saturday's Section 8-2A semifinal matchup. He was not polite.
Playoffs aren't about being nice. Playoffs are about breaking hearts.
Entzion jumped into the boards right in front of the Brainerd student section, after scoring the opening goal in a 5-0 Spud win at Moorhead Sports Center. It was Entzion's final home game of his career, and that jump into the boards sent his message loud and clear.
"We are going to outplay you in every aspect of this game," Entzion said. "And there's nothing you can do about it."
None of the Spuds were very welcoming to No. 20 Brainerd Saturday. In Moorhead's defense, the No. 10-ranked Spuds haven't welcomed any team to the Moorhead Sports Center. In punching their 17th straight trip to the section championship Saturday, the Spuds finished the season a perfect 13-0 at home.
"It was a little bittersweet," Entzion said of his last home game. "Getting this 'W' and just the crowd we had tonight, I haven't seen it in awhile. I'm really glad it could end this way."
Entzion wasted little time. His shot 1 minute, 32 seconds into the game ricocheted off a Brainerd defender and bounced into the back of the net. Carter Randklev fired around a Brainerd defender to make it 2-0 with 4:45 remaining in the first.
"Once we beat Rogers and found out we were playing Brainerd, a huge level of intensity just set in my mind," Entzion said. "I've been thinking of this game every single day, every minute, leading up to the puck drop. To get that first goal, a canon just shot off."
Brainerd (15-10-2) got its second shot on goal with 6:29 to go in the second. By the time the Warriors got their second shot, Moorhead had four goals. Cole O'Connell made it 3-0 with a wrister from the slot three minutes into the second. Kyler Kleven scored 43 seconds later thanks to a perfect feed from Jacob Holtgrewe, another senior playing his last home game, and the Spuds were up 4-0.
"They just submitted to our intensity, our work ethic and our constant, relentless effort the entire game," Entzion said. "I think we drilled that into their heads that this is how this game is going to go. There's nothing you can do about it."
The outcome was well decided before Jack Stetz made it 5-0 less than six minutes into the third.
"The first two periods, that's the best we've played," Moorhead coach Jon Ammerman said. "We were fast. We were on pucks. They're a great team. Two months ago, we lost to them. For us to be able to start like we did and hold that momentum throughout those first two periods I thought was very impressive."
The Spuds (21-3-3) will play Roseau at 7 p.m. on Wednesday in Thief River Falls for the section championship.
"Seems like it's always Moorhead and Roseau," said O'Connell, who had a goal and two assists Saturday. "They're a good team, and we're going to treat them the same way as everyone else."
Moorhead has lost the last three section championship games. The Spuds haven't gone four straight seasons without a section title since winning their first in 1992.
"For me, personally, being such a proud citizen of Moorhead and the school and a hockey player, it's been tragic," Entzion said. "It's bitter. I don't like it. It's been too long. I'm going to do every single thing I can, and I know our team will as well, to get us back."
FIRST PERIOD: 1, M, Enztion, 1:32. 2, M, Randklev (O'Connell, Kosobud), 12:15.
SECOND PERIOD: 3, M, O'Connell, 3:03. 4, M, Kleven (Holtgrewe), 3:46.
THIRD PERIOD: 5, M, Stetz (O'Connell, Randklev), 5:42.
SAVES: B, Engen 9-X-x-9, Kleffman x-13-7-20. M, Leonard 1-4-11-16.