Boys Hockey: Warriors win big over Sauk Rapids
Brainerd scored early and often with Seth Vagts recording his first varsity hat trick in the Warriors’ 13-1 win over the Sauk Rapids Storm in a Central Lakes Conference game Monday, Feb. 3, at Essentia Health Sports Center.
The Warriors’ dominance started when Eric Pohlkamp scored off assists from Josh McLain and Kaleb Sundquist at the 5:10 mark of the first period.
“We knew we had more skill than they did,” Warriors head coach Dave Aus said. “A lot of times in these games it’s easy to get sloppy and do it on your own, and I thought in the first period they shared the puck really well.”
Brainerd was able to get in the middle of the Storm defense whenever they wanted in the first. Haden Kruse and Eli Roberts both scored on centering passes to make it 3-0 Warriors at the 7:40 mark.
“Roberts’ goal was really nice,” Aus said. “It was one of the best shots I have seen in my six years being here. Right near the ear hole of the goalie, I mean he just lasered that thing. We need him to do that more often.”
Things seemed to be turning in Sauk Rapids’ favor when Pohlkamp got hit with a penalty that put the Storm on the power play.
Nevertheless, Kruse found the back of the net with his second goal of the period — a shorthanded one — to make it 4-0.
Brainerd continued to control the puck in Sauk Rapids’ zone and scored 14 seconds apart to make it 6-0. Seth Vagts scored off another nice centering pass. Then, Pohlkamp got his second goal of the period from the blue line to make it 6-0.
“I thought Pohlkamp was really good,” Aus said. “He had two shots where the goalie had no prayer.”
The Warriors outshot Sauk Rapids 19-2 in the first and dominated control of the puck. Five different Warriors tallied two points in the first period.
“We had to come out hot and we did and got them right from the start,” Pohlkamp said. “We had total control of the game right from the bat and that was huge for us.”
The onslaught continued at the 1:39 mark of the second period when Vagts scored his second goal off assists from McLain and Pohlkamp.
“We just stayed creative, keep doing what we’re doing, getting pucks deep and getting shots when we can,” Vagts said. “We can score and if we keep playing like we are, we will be fine.”
Sauk Rapids, finally, scored at the 5:09 mark in the second, but it was followed by another shorthanded goal by Laber to make it 8-1.
“It’s good to see that,” Aus said of the shorthanded goals. “I wish our power play would get more. Our first power play was sloppy and then Seth got one on the second.”
Next, Grant Gardiepy scored right after Cooper Cousino won a faceoff to make it 9-1 at the end of the second.
With running time in the third period, Laber scored at the 1:20 mark, Westin Andres scored unassisted at 3:11, Jacob Drietz scored at 4:55, and Vagts recorded his first varsity hat trick with 52 seconds remaining in the rout.
“It’s good for him to get three,” Aus said of Vagts. “Because we know when we get into playoffs that we have to have more scoring than the three big guys.”
Brainerd finished the game with a 55-9 shot advantage and did not allow a single shot in the third period. Warriors goalie Luke Saiko did not see much action in the lopsided game and recorded eight saves.
Aus hopes the blowout win can build confidence for the second and third lines as they head to the end of the regular season into playoffs.
The Warriors will play Duluth East Wednesday, Feb. 5, and Pohlkamp mentioned they cannot get too full of themselves over the win Monday.
Vagts said it was a fun game to play in.
“You can hear it in the locker room, it gets the boys going,” Vagts said of the scoring outburst. “It’s a lot of fun to come out with the home crowd and getting a lot of pucks on net.”
For more photos of the game between the Warriors and Sauk rapids-Rice go to https://bit.ly/2v3xerm.
Sauk Rapids 0 1 0 -- 1
Brainerd 6 3 4 -- 13
First period: Brd-Eric Pohlkamp (Josh McLain, Kaleb Sundquist) 5:10; Brd-Haden Kruse (Mike Laber, Christian Kadolph) 5:54; Brd-Eli Roberts (Jacob Drietz, Sundquist) 7:40; Brd-Kruse (Laber, Ian Aadland) SH 8:49; Brd-Seth Vagts (McLain, Roberts) PP 13:31; Brd-Pohlkamp (Aden Extrand, Andrew Zuk) 13:47
Second period: Brd-Vagts (McLain, Pohlkamp) 1:39; SR-Brandon Bokelman (Caleb Eteneuer, Dylan Geiselhart) 5:09; Brd-Laber (Kadolph, Grant Gardiepy) SH 7:44; Brd-Gardiepy (Cooper Cousino) 15:54
Third period: Brd-Laber (Kadolph, Kruse) 1:20, Brd-Westin Andres (unassisted) 3:11; Brd-Drietz (Sundquist) 4:55; Brd-Vagts (Extrand, Eric Stoxen) 16:08
Shots on goal: Brd 19-24-12 55, SR 2-7-0 9
Goalies: Brd-Luke Saiko (8 saves); SR-Riley Weinland (34 saves), Grayson Kobluk (8 saves)
Warriors 13, Sauk Rapids 1
Key: Warriors got whatever they wanted when they wanted it in a big rout of the Sauk Rapids Storm.
Conference: Brd 5-1-1, SR 3-6.
Overall: Brd 8-11-2, SR 6-15.
Next: Brainerd at Duluth East 7 p.m. Wednesday, Feb. 5.