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Boys Hockey: Late goal gives Warriors a tie against St. Cloud

Brainerd hosts St. Cloud Jan. 20

Brainerd's goalie Jed Klang stops the puck against St. Cloud Crush.
Brainerd's goalie Jed Klang stops the puck against St. Cloud Crush Thursday, Jan. 20, 2022, at Essentia Health Sports Center in Brainerd.
Kelly Humphrey / Brainerd Dispatch
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BRAINERD — With 1:35 left, Warriors head coach Howie Borden called a timeout trailing 1-0 to St. Cloud Thursday, Jan. 20.

Whatever play he drew up worked to perfection as Brainerd pulled its goalie and won the faceoff with the man advantage. Cayden Kleffman then took a shot from the point and buried it to tie the game.

“Sometimes you get lucky,” Borden said with a chuckle. “We were going to pull the goalie and (Kalvin) Stengrim was our extra attacker. Stengrim was hot all night on the draws, so we had him take the draw. The first look off the faceoff is to (Alex) Jones but if the play isn’t there Kleffman has to put it on net. We had two guys there in front of the net plus Jones crashing in and the screen was perfect and it was the bounce we needed.”

It remained tied through overtime and it snapped the Warriors two-game losing streak.

Jed Klang stopped 38 of 39 shots for Brianerd as St. Cloud outshot Brainerd 39-14.

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“I was really into the game and focused,” Klang said. “I just wanted to stay calm and collected and battle my tail off.”

Borden added: “I got to give a lot of credit to Jed Klang because he’s persevered. He’s been a team guy and been positive. This is the result of what mental toughness is and we are looking for big things from Jed Klang down the stretch.”

Klang was quick to credit the defensive zone of Brainerd in helping keep the Crush to only one goal.

“Our D zone was really good and I had some really fundamental saves,” he said.

The Crush’s goal came in the first period when Andrew Cumming scored unassisted off a turnover in front of Klang.

Klang said he didn’t get discouraged by the first-period goal.

“The thing with being goalie is to stop the next one,” he said. “I did a good job at that and just put it behind me. I didn’t want it to get in my head because I knew that would not help me in the long run.”

St. Cloud featured 12 quality scoring chances with six coming in the final period.

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“I thought the defenders were battling hard in front of the net and boxing guys out and playing their hearts out,” Borden said. “They wanted this game for Klang.”

In overtime, Aden Extrand, who assisted on Kleffman’s game-tying goal, almost won the game for Brainerd after a St. Cloud turnover in front of its net.

“The boys gave a full effort tonight,” Borden said. “I think you saw a different team tonight than we saw on Tuesday. I think everyone on the bench was positive and everyone was cheering each other on. We started playing for each other and that’s the family brand of hockey we are trying to bring here.”

The Warriors were coming off a 11-0 loss to St. Michael-Albertville Tuesday. Brainerd was also without its leading scorer Max Roby Thursday who was serving a one-game suspension for a spearing penalty he was assessed against STMA.

The Warriors will be back at it Friday when they host River Lakes.

“The biggest thing that we have been trying to get out of the season is to not quit,” Borden said. “We now have the mindset back of let’s compete no matter where the scoreboard is. That mindset came out tonight and if they bring that mental piece every night. Anything could happen.”

St. Cloud 1 0 0 0 — 1

Brainerd 0 0 1 0 — 1

First period: SC-Andrew Cumming 12:02

Third period: Brd-Cayden Kleffman (Aden Extrand) 15:29

Shots on goal: Brd 4-4-3-3 14, SC 9-8-18-4 39

Goalies: Brd-Jed Klang (38 saves); SC-Ben Condon (13 saves)

Warriors 1, St. Cloud 1

Key: Jed Klang gets 38 saves for Warriors in tie.

Conference: Brd 1-2-1, SC 1-1-2.

Overall: Brd 2-12-1, SC 3-10-3.

Next: Brainerd hosts River Lakes 7:15 p.m. Friday, Jan. 21.

CONRAD ENGSTROM may be reached at 218-855-5861 or conrad.engstrom@brainerddispatch.com. Follow on Twitter at www.twitter.com/the_rad34.

Started at the Dispatch in June of 2019.
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