FAIRMONT - Trailing 3-0 after the first period, Fairmont Area forward Sam Havnen provided a spark to start the second during nonconference boys hockey action against Windom Area on Thursday at Martin County Arena in Fairmont.
Unfortunately for the Cardinals, that is where the comeback stalled as the Eagles soared to an 8-1 win.
"I thought that we were able to play with them. The shots were even most of the game and I don't think the score was representative of how close the game was," said Fairmont Area head coach Brady Meyer.
GIVING CHASE — Fairmont Area forward Trason Arens (16) chases Windom Area forward Devin Nielsen down the ice during nonconference hockey action Thursday night at Martin County Arena in Fairmont. (Photo by Leanna Becker)
Havnen caught a centering pass from Ethan Lubenow and carried it past an Eagle defender, faked a shot left and then came back and fired a wrister past the goalie to make it 3-1 with 10:15 left in the period.
Two minutes and 25 seconds later, the Eagles scored to stop all of the Cardinals momentum.
Devin Nielsen, who tallied a game-high five points and teammate Zach Bartosh battled against Cardinal defenders before Nielsen zipped a shot out to Ryan Clark the slot.
Clark didn't waste any time, and snapped off the shot for a goal with 7:50 remaining in the second period.
"Both teams had quite a few scoring chances, but they were just able to capitalize on theirs and we weren't," said Meyer. "That was the difference in the game. If we get a couple goals, get some momentum in the second, it could've changed the outcome."
Despite trailing by three, the Cardinals fired six shots on net in the second, including breakaway attempt by Matt Lytle.
Lytle, who caught a pass from Trason Arens at neutral ice, carried it into the Eagle zone but his shot on the right side was turned away by Eagle goaltender Garrett Schumacher.
The Eagles offense, which fired 38 shots at the Cardinal goaltender Colton Cunning, managed another goal as the seconds ticked down in the second.
Bartosh fired a shot on net during an Eagle power play, and Cunning stopped it for one of his 30 saves. Nielsen was there to pick up the rebound though and blasted a shot into the net with 24 seconds left to take the 5-1 lead.
"Colton has done a good job in net for us this season. He has kept us in a few games by stopping tough shots," said Meyer. "Tonight he was struggling because there was a lot of traffic in front of him when they got the puck in our zone, but he still did a nice job."
With the Eagles still on the power play as the third started, Mitchell Macek scored on a Nielsen shot rebound to take the 6-1 lead.
Ryley Espenson sizzled a wrister from the slot that found it's way to the net for another Eagle score at the 10:46 mark of the third.
Then Alex Leopold, who scored the first goal of the game, bookended it with a rocket from the blue line with four minutes left in the game. Leopold carried the puck out from the boards before setting up on the blue line and ripping the shot that found it's way through the crowd and into the net.
Leopold's first goal came less than five minutes in, with Nielsen getting his first assist.
Bartosh then skated in from the point and fired a shot over Cunning's shoulder for the tally to make it 2-0 with 5:08 left in the first.
Andrew Hirsch then fired the third goal of the period from the point, finding the net with 10 seconds left.
Fairmont Area (0-6, 0-2 South Central) travels play Prairie Centre in a 2:30 p.m game next Thursday at Minnehaha Academy in Minneapolis.
Windom Area (4-5) travels to play a 7 p.m. nonconference game at Richfield next Thursday.
W - Alex Leopold (Devin Nielsen), 12:26.
W - Zach Bartosh (unassisted), 5:08.
W - Andrew Hirsch (Devin Nielsen), 0:10.
FA - Sam Havnen (Ethan Lubenow), 10:15.
W - Ryan Clark (Devin Nielsen, Zach Bartosh), 7:50.
W - Devin Nielsen (Zach Bartosh), 0:24.
W - Mitchell Macek (Devin Nielsen), 14:56.
W - Ryley Espenson (Curtis Pell, Zach Bartosh), 10:46.
W - Alex Leopold (unassisted), 4:00.
Shots on goal: Windom Area 13-10-15-38; Fairmont Area 6-6-6-18.
Saves: Colton Cunning (FA) 10-8-12-30; Garrett Schmacher (WA) 6-5-6-17.
Penalties: Fairmont Area 2 for 7 minutes; Windom Area 1 for 2 minutes.
Fairmont Area 7, Windom Area 2 - Myah Lytle and Brooke Lemon each scored a pair of goals to help pace the Cardinals to a 7-2 nonconference win over the Eagles on Thursday night in Windom.
Lytle netted two goals and also recorded an assist in her game-high three-point night for Fairmont Area, while Lemon netted a pair of goals late in the game.
Logyn Cone netted her seventh goal of the season, while teammate Tieryn Arens scored her fourth goal of the season to help pace the the Cardinals in the win.
Fairmont Area's Taylor Nuss, who has a team-leading 16 points, generated a goal off of a double-assist from Jalyssa Wilson and Lytle.
Fairmont Area (5-5, 0-2 SCC) travels to play the St. Paul Blades in the Schwan Cup Tournament at 4:30 p.m. Monday, Dec. 30, at the Schwan Super Rink in Blaine.