The Warriors scored early and often as they defeated the Alexandria Cardinals 6-0 Thursday, Sept. 19, at Don Adamson field.
“I thought we played really well,” Warrior coach Tom Grausam said. “We were firing on all cylinders and that was good to see. Even our bench came out and played well. It was an all-around good game for us.”
Senior forward Jack Thorkelson got the scoring started for the Warriors as his goal at the 35:26 mark in the first half put the Warriors up 1-0.
Junior midfielder Nole Robertson assisted on the goal as the Warriors moved the ball well in the early part of the game and applied pressure on the Cardinal defense.
Three minutes after Thorkelson’s goal, senior midfielder Nick Whiteman got fouled in the box and scored a PK goal and Brainerd had a 2-0 lead eight minutes into the game.
“It’s a good feeling that we can come out and start like that,” Grausam said. “We did that against Fergus and we were able to carry that over to Alex, so that’s good. We got the lead and I was able to rest some of our starters.”
The Warriors were not done scoring in the first half. They continued to apply pressure on Alexandria and created a chance when Thorkelson’s shot got blocked by a Cardinals defender.
The blocked shot deflected right out to senior defender Atlie Danielson about 20 yards away from the net. Danielson scored on the shot outside the box and it put Brainerd up 3-0.
“It felt amazing,” Danielson said of scoring a goal. “I had one back in seventh grade and so it’s nice to have another one of those.”
Danielson admitted he thought he might miss.
“I thought ‘guarantee I’m hitting this over,’” he said of his goal with a smile. “And then I didn’t.”
Jonah Davis added the fourth Brainerd goal of the first half and it came off a near own goal by Alexandria. Thorkelson then put his second goal of the game in the back of the net with just under two minutes left in the first half. Thorkelson’s multi-goal game marks his third straight game with two or more goals.
Brainerd went into halftime up 5-0 and it did not take long for the Warriors to score in the second half as a pass from Nole Robertson found the foot of sophomore midfielder Adam Klecker who scored Brainerd’s sixth and final goal and the Warriors cruised to victory.
Grausam enjoyed having a game where he could rest some of his players because the schedule coming up in his mind is tough.
“We have five games in seven days coming up,” Grausam said. “That’s a lot of games. It’s really good to get them some rest or else their legs will be heavy and they won’t be moving as well. Their passes won’t be as accurate as they were tonight.”
The defense played a big role in the Warriors’ win. Jude Hiltner and Brandon Neifert combined for four saves for Brainerd's second straight shutout.
Danielson said the Warriors try to apply heavy pressure on their opponent and stick to them like a mosquito. Grausam credits the group as a whole for their defense.
“Cooper Cousino and Max Lelwica they do a really good job and are a solid part of our defense,” Grausam said. “They’ve played every minute of our season so far.”
The Warriors are now riding a four-game winning streak in conference play which gives them confidence as their season hits the home stretch.
“We have a really good team,” Danielson said. “We want to win our section. We’ve had one unfortunate loss to Tech that was on a fluke and other than that we are undefeated.”
Alexandria 0 0 -- 0
Brainerd 5 1 -- 6
First half: Brd-Jack Thorkelson (Nole Robertson) 35:26, Nick Whiteman 32:22 PK, Atlie Danielson (Thorkelson) 21:43, Jonah Davis 5:13, Thorkelson 1:52
Second half: Brd-Adam Klecker (Robertson) 39:00
Shots on goal: Brd 11 shots, Alex 4 shots
Goalkeepers: Brd-Jude Hiltner (3 saves), Brandon Neifert (1 save); Alex-Ryan Meuwissen (5 saves)
Warriors 6, Alexandria 0
Key: Warriors score early and often to beat the Cards.
Conf: Brd 5-1, Alex 3-4
Overall: Brd 6-1, Alex 5-5-1
Next: at Bemidji 3 p.m. Saturday, Sept. 21