Boys Hockey: Warriors slay Sabres for second conference win

Haden Kruse scored the go-ahead goal for the Brainerd Warriors in their 4-2 victory over the Sartell Sabres. Kelly Humphrey / Brainerd Dispatch

A slow start was countered by a flurry of second-period goals as the Brainerd Warriors beat the Sartell Sabres 4-2 Thursday, Dec. 12, at Essentia Health Sports Center.

“I think just winning races to pucks and working harder than they did,” Warriors head coach Dave Aus said of his team’s second period. “It’s just a mindset and for us, if we are going to win this year it has to be a mindset that we are going to outwork and outcompete teams.”

Senior forward Mike Laber started the scoring in the second with a power-play goal at the 3:35 mark. Laber’s goal tied the game 1-1.

Brainerd took its first lead of the game thanks to a Haden Kruse goal at the 5:17 mark. Kaleb Sundquist and Mason Argir assisted on what would be the go-ahead goal.

Aden Extrand scored the last goal of the second off of a deflection from Eric Pohlkamp’s shot from the blue line. The Warriors outshot the Sabres 16-4 in the golden second period.


Sartell’s forward Hayden Walters started the scoring with an unassisted goal with a little over five minutes into the game.

The Warriors outshot Sartell 20-7 in the first period, but Sartell’s goaltender Riley Hauck stoned the Warriors’ offensive chances leaving the Warriors trailing after the first.

By the end of two periods, the Warriors held a 36-11 shot advantage and a 3-1 lead. The chances that were not going in during the first period found the back of the net and Brainerd wasn’t allowing the Sabres to get much of anything.

The Warriors did not coast to victory as a power-play goal by forward Will Schiffler a little more than two minutes in the third made it 3-2.

Nevertheless, Aus felt like his team never lost control the game.

“There was not a point in the game where I felt we did not have control,” Aus said. “Even when it got to 3-2, I knew we were going to be just fine.”

Christian Kadolph scored on the power play to give the Warriors a little insurance at the 7:42 mark of the third.


The third period got a little chippy as both teams exchanged roughing penalties and there was a total of six third period penalties.

“I don’t want to see that,” Aus said of the penalties. “We were working them over and there’s no reason to get into that stuff. That’s just them trying to get us out of our game.”

The Warriors outshot the Sabres 47-15 total. Hauck notched a total of 43 saves to keep the Warriors at bay for the most part. Brainerd’s goaltender Luke Saiko saved 13 shots and earned a win.

Aus feels his team needs to work on finishing some of the chances they get early.

“We’ve got to work on scoring and finishing because, I mean, a game like that you probably want seven or eight goals,” he said. “You know, you got to give their goalie a little credit -- he played well. We did get two power-play goals tonight which is huge for us because that’s how we are going to win.”

The Warriors remain undefeated in the Central Lakes Conference and have a quick turnaround game at St. Cloud Cathedral Friday, Dec. 13.

“Sartell always plays us really well so it’s a good win,” Aus said. “Every win is a good win, so now we got to get ready to play a good team tomorrow night because the tempo will be a little higher.”

Brainerd had three players finish with two points, Thursday. The balance is something Aus likes to see and wants to see more of going forward.


“We have to have that,” Aus said. “We know Kruse is going to score. Pohlkamp had an assist on Extrand’s goal, but it was a good, hard shot from the blue line that went in off a foot or something. So it doesn’t really matter how you get them it just matters how many.”

For more photos, go to .

Sartell 1 0 1 -- 2
Brainerd 0 3 1 -- 4

First period: Sar-Hayden Walters (unassisted) 5:12
Second period: Brd-Mike Laber (Christian Kadolph) 3:35 PP; Brd-Haden Kruse (Kaleb Sundquist, Mason Argir) 5:17; Aden Extrand (Eric Pohlkamp, Ian Aadland) 7:36
Third period: Sar-Will Schiffler (Ryan Zulkosky, Ben Marthaler) 2:15 PP; Brd-Kadolph (Pohlkamp, Laber) 7:42 PP
Shots on goal: Brd 47, Sar 15
Goalies: Brd-Luke Saiko (13 saves); Sar-Riley Hauck (43 saves)

Warriors 4, Sartell 2

Key: Three second period goals lifted Brainerd to their second conference win.

Conference: Brd 2-0-1, Sar 1-2.


Overall: Brd 3-3-1, Sar 2-3.

Next: Brainerd at St. Cloud Cathedral 7:15 p.m. Friday, Dec. 13.

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