Brainerd’s leading scorer struck again Friday, March 5.
Eric Pohlkamp scored the game-winning goal, his second goal of the game, with 7:31 left in the third period as the Warriors beat Sartell 3-2 in a Central Lakes Conference game.
Pohlkamp received a pass from Max Roby and the one-timer was Pohlkamp’s team-leading 12th goal of the season.
“We had a three-on-two and Max drew the first guy in and dropped it off to me and I one-timed it low blocker and it was a great pass by Max and good play,” Pohlkamp said.
It was Roby’s 10th assist of the season which ties him with Pohlkamp with the team lead.
“Roby has a knack of putting it in a guy's wheelhouse,” Warriors head coach Dave Aus said. “Eric is not going to miss many one-timers from that spot. It's great to win like that. You want to win on a nice play and we did.”
Pohlkamp’s first goal put the Warriors up 2-0 52 seconds into the second period.
Andrew Zuk’s initial shot was intercepted and redirected into the net by Pohlkamp.
“I saw Andrew shoot it so I thought I could get a tip,” Pohlkamp said. “Back I actually caught the pass and got a backhand shot off. I didn’t even know it went in until the buzzer went on.”
Aus said a backhand goal like that is credit to how hard Pohlkamp works.
“That’s what you can do when you spend hours and hours shooting and working on your game which Eric does,” Aus said. “It’s a good lesson for young kids. If you work like that you’re going to be good.”
The Sabres climbed back in with their first goal when Tory Lund scored from Hayden Walters.
Sartell then tied the game in the third period with a goal by Lacen VanDenBerg.
Sartell pulled its goalie with a minute to play. With 10 seconds left, a scrum in front of Warrior goalie Jed Klang nearly tied the game before Brainerd cleared the puck as the clock hit zero.
“We have to be a little more careful to try and clear the puck,” Aus said. “He had an unbelievable save on a partial breakaway. So he made a couple of fantastic saves.”
Klang finished with 25 saves.
“He’s a big goalie and a big part of this team,” Pohlkamp said. “He’s a rock-solid goalie.”
The win was a bounce-back victory for the Warriors who fell to the Bemidji Lumberjacks last night 5-2.
“After last night’s loss, we were kind of devastated,” Pohlkamp said. “Coaches got on us and we needed a big win and we got it.”
It was also a revenge win as the Sabres beat the Warriors 2-1 Jan. 16.
“We really competed harder than we did last night,” Aus said. “We were much more energized. Good tempo and we match up well with them.”
Play was physical in the second period, but only one penalty was called. The Warriors were unable to take advantage of their lone power-play opportunity in the second.
“It definitely worked for us,” Aus said of the physicality. “That’s the way we have to play if we are going to be successful. The officiating was really good when they allow us to be physical and not call everything. They were physical, too.”
The play before Sartell’s first goal saw a Sabres’ player check a Warriors player over the boards by Sartell’s bench.
“Both these team’s respect each other,” Aus said. “There really is not a whole lot of trash talking with these guys.”
Brainerd striked first when Cooper Cousino scored on assists from Jimi Koponen and Pohlkamp.
Klang held the Sabres scoreless through one period with seven saves, including a breakaway stop on the first shot by Sartell.
“One of our goals each game is to score first,” Aus said. “Whenever we do that it’s big for us. I’m sure our percentage is much higher when we do that. The cool thing tonight was it was all the guys in our lineup who contributed.”
Brainerd finishes its season with two road games against Alexandria and Roseau next week.
“We are determined,” Pohlkamp said. “I think we are coming in kind of the underdogs here. If we play like tonight, I think we can beat anyone.”
Sartell 0 1 1 — 2
Brainerd 1 1 1 — 3
First period: Brd-Cooper Cousino (Eric Pohlkamp, Jimi Koponen) 6:55
Second period: Brd-Eric Pohlkamp (Andrew Zuk) 0:52, Sar-Tory Lund (Hayden Walters) 12:37
Third period: Sar-Lacen VanDenBerg (Thomas Franke) 4:02, Brd-Eric Pohlkamp (Max Roby) 9:29
Shots on goal: Brd 8-14-11 33, Sar 7-9-11 27
Goalies: Brd-Jed Klang (25 saves); Sar-Brandon Bonach (30 saves)
Warriors 3, Sartell 2
Key: Pohlkamp’s two goals propels Brainerd to victory in last home game
Conference: Brd 5-3-1, Sar 5-6.
Overall: Brd 6-8-1, Sar 6-7.
Next: Brainerd at Alexandria 7:15 p.m. Thursday, March 11.
CONRAD ENGSTROM may be reached at 218-855-5861 or email@example.com. Follow on Twitter at www.twitter.com/the_rad34.