FAIRMONT - St. Peter/Le Sueur-Henderson starting center Brett Zallek and second-line wing Sam Wenner put some bite in the Bulldogs' scoring attack on Saturday.
The pair of sophomore standouts equally combined for four goals and two assists to power the Bulldogs to a 7-0 South Central Conference hockey victory over the Fairmont Area Cardinals at Martin County Arena in Fairmont.
Zallek, Wenner and the Bulldogs' deeper bench eventually wore down a short-handed Cardinals' roster to net a 43-10 shots-on-goal advantage on the game.
BREAKING?AWAY — Fairmont Area’s Joe Nordquist (2) breaks away from St. Peter/Le Sueur-Henderson wing Luke Regner (second from right) and center Brett Zallek (right) at neutral ice during South Central Conference hockey action on Saturday at Martin County Arena in Fairmont. The Cardinals’ Sam Havnen looks for a pass on the right side. Photo by Leanna Becker
"I don't like to say it because people think it's an excuse, but with a couple of our guys not able to play today, we were essentially skating two lines against their three," said Fairmont Area head coach Brady Meyer. "It was our first game, and we're still working on building our stamina, but we just didn't have anything left in our legs late in the game."
Meyer's postgame analysis proved as sharp as Derrick Hohensee's net-minding skills as the Cardinals' junior goaltender stonewalled 13 of the Bulldogs' 14 first-period shots.
Austin Braun wristed a backhand follow shot off of Hohensee's deflection of his original blast to stake the Bulldogs to a 1-0 lead with 8:06 remaining in the opening 17-minute segment.
Wenner, however, triggered a 3-on-2 opportunity while the Bulldogs were short-handed during the second period's opening minute.
Wenner slapped a liner from the point off the left pipe as he was tripped by a Fairmont Area defender. St. Peter/LSH wing Brock Solomon capitalized on the diversion near the crease by tapping home the rebound to double the lead with 16:20 left in the second.
Wenner and Zallek then played key roles in the Bulldogs generating two more goals during the middle frame. Wenner drilled a one-timer from the point off of Braun's left-wing centering pass at the 10:40 mark before Zallek fed Luke Regner for a left-wing chip only 77 seconds later for a 4-0 gap.
Zallek and Wenner accounted for all three of St. Peter/LSH's third-period goals to cap its first victory of the season.
Zallek needed only 11 seconds to find the net off of Ryan Hoehn's faceoff-winning pass to open the third period. Zallek's left-wing wrister floated over Hohensee's shoulder and into the top right shelf.
Wenner scored off a double-assist from Regner and Hoehn at the 10:12 juncture before Zallek flipped home an off-balanced shot off another double-assist from Jon Favre and Nate Douglas with only 30 seconds left in the game.
Bulldog senior netminder Chris Amsden made 10 saves, including catching Cardinal wing Sam Havnen's right-wing blast at the 5:40 mark of the opening period, to net the shutout.
Amsden also turned away Fairmont Area defender Trason Arens' liner from the point with a flick of his stick with 13:20 left in the second frame.
Hohensee delivered a yeoman's effort by recording an incredible 36 saves for the Cardinals.
Fairmont Area (0-1, 0-1 SCC) plays host to Waseca at 7 p.m. Friday at Martin County Arena.
St. Peter/Le Sueur-Henderson (1-1, 1-0) faces Mankato East/Loyola on Tuesday in Mankato.
Fmt Area 0-0-0-0
SPLSH - Austin Braun (unassisted), 8:06.
SPLSH - Brock Solomon (Sam Wenner, Levi Steuck), sh., 16:20.
SPLSH - Sam Wenner (Austin Braun), 10:40.
SPLSH - Luke Regner (Brett Zallek), 9:23.
SPLSH - Brett Zallek (Ryan Hoehn), 16:49.
SPLSH - Sam Wenner (Luke Regner, Ryan Hoehn), pp., 10:12.
SPLSH - Brett Zallek (Jon Favre, Nate Douglas), 0:30.
Shots on goal: St. Peter/Le Sueur-Henderson 14-18-11-43; Fairmont Area 4-5-1-10.
Saves: Derrick Hohensee (FA) 13-15-8-36; Chris Amsden (SPLSH) 4-5-1-10.
Penalties: Fairmont Area 3 for 6 minutes; SPSLH 2 for 4 minutes.
Power-play chances: Fairmont 0 for 2; SPLSH 1 for 3.