Blades overpower Cardinals, 5-2

ALIGNED — Fairmont Area’s Tony Nuss (2) carries the puck into neutral ice with Cardinal teammate Hudson Artz (front) along the wing and Breckenride/Wahpeton’s Hunter Rittenour (8) trailing the play during nonconference hockey action Saturday at Martin County Arena in Fairmont. (Photo by Charlie Sorrells)

FAIRMONT — The Fairmont Area and Breckenridge/Wahpeton boys hockey teams were virtually even on the Martin County Arena ice when both the Cardinals and Blades were at even strength.

The visiting Blades, however, converted half of their four power-play chances and added an empty-netter with 47 seconds remaining to exit Fairmont with a 5-2 nonconference victory over the Cardinals on Saturday.

Sophomore forward Jase Jensen and senior center Nolan Wamre packed a chilling 1-2 offensive punch, combining equally for four goals and four assists to pace Breckenridge/Wahpeton’s lamp-lighting ways.

In fact, Jensen and Wamre worked their icy magic during the Blades’ initial power-play opportunity in the opening period to beat Cardinal senior goaltender Colby Kuhl via the 5-to-4 advantage.

Wamre circled behind the net and filtered a pass to Jensen, who swatted home a low wrister to the five-hole for a 1-0 lead with 6:00 remaining in the first frame. Ironically, Colby Kuhl had turned away a four-shot flurry only half a minute earlier en route to his game-best 38 saves on the day.

Sophomore forward Carson Kuhl, the Fairmont netminder’s brother, delivered the equalizer during the second period’s early stages for the first goal of his prep varsity career.

“I had a strong feeling that it (shot on goal) was going to go in,” said Carson Kuhl. “I beat him (Blades goalie Hunter Wamre) above his blocker shoulder.”

Tanner DeWar delivered the lead pass to Kuhl, who rushed the left wing before flipping a left-to-right wrister past Hunter Wamre for a 1-all tie at the 10:35 juncture of the middle frame.

Unfortunately for the Cardinals, the tie lasted only 6 minutes before the lethal Jensen-Nolan Wamre connection broke the deadlock at the 4:33 mark of the second. Wamre delivered a perfect drop pass to Jensen along the right wing and the Blades’ sophomore scorer swept the puck between Colby Kuhl’s knee pads for a 2-1 lead.

Ironically, Nolan Wamre and Jensen exchanged roles only 12 seconds later off of a faceoff, but the goal was wiped out by the referees to keep the score at 2-1 heading into the second intermission.

Wamre and Jensen reversed their second-period connection to open the third period and a 3-1 Blades’ lead. Jensen smacked a line-drive that Colby Kuhl batted away only to have Wamre tap home the rebound on the doorstep with 15:22 left in regulation.

Fairmont Area nearly sliced the lead to 3-2 when DeWar tracked down Thomas Havnen’s blocked initial shot along the left wing. DeWar fired quickly off a pivot move, but Hunter Wamre proved worthy of the rebound attempt.

Karson Legred later powered his way around the back of the cage before attempting a wraparound near the left pipe only to have Hunter Wamre make a sliding save at the 14-minute juncture.

Jensen later continued his playmaking ways by feeding Carson Hought for a left-wing slapshot on the power play to extend the Blades’ margin to 4-1 with 9:17 left in the game.

Sam Mensing reduced the Cardinals’ deficit to two by cranking home a putback goal off Havnen’s initial shot only 32 seconds later. Havnen’s blast ricocheted left, where Mensing lined it past Hunter Wamre and into the netting.

Trailing 4-2, Fairmont Area head coach Kris Olson opted to pull his goalie during the late stages of regulation and Nolan Wamre converted his steal into an open-net goal with 47 seconds remaining.

Hunter Wamre turned away 22 Cardinal shots on goal to earn the victory.

Fairmont Area (0-5) hits the road to Faribault on Tuesday for a 7 p.m. non-league contest, while Breckenridge/Wahpeton (3-1) travels to Mayville, N.D., Tuesday to play Mayport.

BW 1-1-3–5

FA 0-1-1–2

Scoring Plays

1st Period

BW–Jase Jensen (Nolan Wamre), pp., 6:00.

2nd Period

FA–Carson Kuhl (Tanner DeWar), 10:35.

BW–Jase Jensen (Nolan Wamre), 4:33.

3rd Period

BW–Nolan Wamre (Jase Jensen), 15:22.

BW–Carson Hought (Jase Jensen), pp., 9:17.

FA–Sam Mensing (Thomas Havnen), 8:45.

BW–Noland Wamre (empty net), 0:47.

Shots on goal: BW 18-12-13–43; Fairmont Area 7-6-11–24.

Saves: Colby Kuhl (FA) 17-11-10–38; Hunter Wamre (BW) 7-5-10–22.

Penalties: Fairmont Area 4 for 11 minutes; BW5 for 13 minutes.

Power-play chances: BW 2-for-4; FA 0-for-4.