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Boys Hockey: Stout's OT goal gives Warriors big section victory

Warriors 4, Spuds 3 OT The key: Eric Stout scored 4:49 into overtime Overall: Brd 5-1-1, M 4-4-0 Next: Brainerd at Hibbing 7:30 p.m. Monday. No Brainerd Warriors' lead is ever safe when playing the Moorhead Spuds. In Tuesday's Section 8-2A contes...

Brainerd’s Eric Stout handles the puck Tuesday against Moorhead. (Kelly Humphrey, Brainerd Dispatch - Gallery)
Brainerd’s Eric Stout handles the puck Tuesday against Moorhead. (Kelly Humphrey, Brainerd Dispatch - Gallery)

Warriors 4, Spuds 3 OT

The key: Eric Stout scored 4:49 into overtime

Overall: Brd 5-1-1, M 4-4-0

Next: Brainerd at Hibbing 7:30 p.m. Monday.

No Brainerd Warriors' lead is ever safe when playing the Moorhead Spuds.

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In Tuesday's Section 8-2A contest, the Warriors seized 2-0 and 3-1 leads, but let them evaporate as Moorhead roared back with two third-period goals and tied it 3-3.

Fortunately for the Warriors, Eric Stout and Cole Ball teamed up to give Brainerd only its seventh win in the 50-game series between the schools, 4-3 in overtime at Essentia Health Sports Center. It was Brainerd's first win over the Spuds since Jan. 30, 2014.

In overtime, Ball dashed down the right wing during a 2-on-1 and zipped a perfect pass to Stout, who was streaking down the left side, and banged it home.

"I kind of gave it to Ball at the half-wall," Stout said. "He had a lot of speed. Their defender committed to him. He slid it over, I looked up, saw the left side open and shot it in."

The Brainerd victory was somewhat surprising considering it was outshot 38-16 and was 0-for-5 on the power play, including a 5-on-3 for 66 seconds. Moorhead totalled 34 quality scoring chances to the Warriors' six.

Brainerd coach Dave Aus wasn't happy with his team's effort, but gladly took the win.

"We didn't show up to play tonight and they did," Aus said. "They're not a bad team. Power plays are kind of what changed the momentum. We just for whatever reason struggled. Matt Fischer got hurt and that threw things for a loop. Then Andy Muesing got hurt. We were just trying to find healthy bodies at the end of the game.

"For our kids to win, I give them a lot of credit. Moorhead certainly did a good job, but that wasn't the team-for us at least-that I've seen all year so it's a little bit bittersweet. But the bottom line is we won. Right now we would be seeded ahead of them. Our record is better, head-to-head we're better, I guess that's all that matters."

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Fischer was injured 72 seconds into the game and returned, but was taken off the power play. That thrust freshman Gavin Andres onto the power play along with defenseman Happy Rivard.

"Our power play was like brand new again," Aus said. "I thought we would be smoother there than we were because it's been so good for us, but tonight I wish I could have declined (penalties) a couple of times.

"I just thought it's early in the year. Matt's a really important piece for us and why risk it so we just pulled him."

Trailing 3-1 into the third, the Spuds responded with two goals and sent the contest into the 8-minute extra session.

Cooper Tietz slashed Brainerd's lead to 3-2 when he secured a loose puck to the right of Warrior goalie Brady Mick and slammed it in 47 seconds into the third.

At 7:36 of the third, following a barrage of activity in front, Spuds defenseman Patrick O'Connor scored on a rebound at 7:36 for a 3-3 tie.

With 48.8 seconds left in regulation, Ball almost won it flying down the right side with a defender on him, but his shot was stymied by Moorhead goalie Easton Masseth.

During a scoreless second, the Warriors were outshot 13-3 despite having three power-play opportunities, including the 2-man advantage.

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The second opened with Moorhead serving a 5-minute major for checking from behind, but Brainerd was unable to capitalize. Zach Boutain went in all alone but was stonewalled by Mick, while the Spuds were short-handed in the first minute.

Josh Howieson opened a freewheeling first period when he took an alert cross-ice pass from Jack Evans and slapped it home from inside the faceoff circle on the Warriors' first shot of the game.

At 9:34 of the first, Ball was trailing a play and rebounded a shot for the Warriors' 2-0 edge.

Slightly more than a minute later, the Spuds' Matt Hebranson skated around a defender and scored into the upper left-hand corner paring the deficit to 2-1.

The 1-goal lead didn't last long as Evans tallied on a rebound for a 3-1 edge at 15:56.

"Moorhead's always been kind of a team rivalry," Stout said. "We found a way to dig. Good teams always find ways to win."

Moorhead 1 0 2 0 - 3

Brainerd 3 0 0 1 - 4

First period: Brd-Josh Howieson (Jack Evans, Justin Marthaler) 1:22; Brd-Cole Ball (Sam Selisker, Eric Stout) 9:34; M-Jack Herbranson 10:44; Brd-Evans (Howieson, Matt Fischer) 15:56

Second period: No scoring

Third period: M-Cooper Tietz (Codee Brace, Jack Fahrendorf) :47; M-Patrick O'Connor (Cole O'Connell) 7:36

Overtime: Brd-Stout (Ball) 4:49

Shots on goal: Brd 6-3-5-2-16, M 6-13-18-1-38

Goalies: Brd-Brady Mick (35 saves); M-Easton Masseth (12 saves).

MIKE BIALKA may be reached at mike.bialka@brainerddispatch.com or 218-855-5861. Follow on Twitter at www.twitter.com/bertsballpark .

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