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Cardinals’ boys hockey improves to 2-0 on season

ACCESS DENIED — Fairmont Area goalie Carsen Musser halts a shot by Minnesota River’s Brooks Reicks (27) during Big South hockey action Tuesday night in Fairmont. The Cardinals’ Carson Johnson (14) and Carter Olson (right), along with the Bulldogs’ Brendan O’Keefe look on. (Photo by Greg Abel)

FAIRMONT — Carsen Musser saved the Fairmont Area Cardinals from defeat.

Musser amassed 66 saves in the Cardinals’ 3-2 hockey win over Minnesota River on Tuesday night at Martin County Arena.

Musser held the Bulldogs off the scoreboard with 25 first-period and 30 second-period saves, before Minnesota River was able to get a shot by him with 3:29 left in the game.

“He was unbelievable,” said Cardinal head coach Dylan VanBrocklin. “If it wasn’t for him, we easily could have lost 15-3. I can’t even explain. To face 55 shots in the first two periods and keep them at zero, wow. He works his butt off …

“I would say for his second varsity game, that’s got to put his confidence through the roof. To face 60-some shots and hold them to zero until the last three or four, he’s got to be on cloud nine.”

With the win, the Cardinals took consecutive games for the first time since Jan. 5, 2017, when they beat Windom Area 2-1 after beating Morris/Benson Area 5-2 on Dec. 30, 2016. This is the first time in program history the Cardinals have started the season with a 2-0 record.

While Musser was keeping the Bulldogs off the scoreboard, the Cardinal offense was efficient with its chances. The Cardinals scored two first-period goals on six shots, then scored one more on only two second-period shots on goal.

Evan Carlson scored the Cardinals’ first goal at the 15:15 mark of the first off an assist from Kaiden Musser.

Kaiden Musser took a right-to-left shot, which the Bulldog goalie blocked toward Carlson, who one-timed the puck into the bottom left corner of the net.

Eli Anderson gave the Cardinals another score when he collected the rebound off the boards of a Carson Johnson shot and wristed the puck home.

The Cardinals scored what turned into a necessary insurance goal in the second period.

Anderson worked his way through defenders before tapping a pass left to Hudson Artz, giving Artz a one-on-one chance against the Bulldog goalie. Artz deked right to left and wristed the puck into the left side of the webbing.

Minnesota River broke the shutout and nearly came back in the final minutes.

Brock Olson scored when he collected the rebound off Logan Throldahl’s shot and slapped the puck into the bottom left corner of the net at 3:29. Throldahl then scored off an Olson centering pass from the right wing.

The Bulldogs called a timeout and pulled their goalie with 1:20 left in the matchup, but could only muster one shot on goal, which Carsen Musser saved to close the game.

The Cardinals (2-0) travel to Waseca for a 7 p.m. game Thursday, while the Bulldogs (0-4) play host to Hutchinson at 7:30 p.m. in LeSueur.

MN River 0-0-2–2

Fairmont Area 2-1-0–3

Scoring Plays

1st Period

FA–Evan Carlson (Kaiden Musser), 15:15.

FA–Eli Anderson (Carson Johnson), 9:41.

2nd Period

FA–Hudson Artz (Eli Anderson), 7:09.

3rd Period

MR–Brock Olson (Logan Throldahl), 3:29.

MR–Logan Throldahl (Brock Olson), 1:20.

Shots on goal: MR 25-30-13–68; FA 6-2-4–12.

Saves: Carsen Musser (FA) 66; Mitch Kotek (MR) 9.

Penalties: MR 3 for 6 minutes; FA 4 for 8 minutes.

Power-play chances: MR 0 for 4; FA 0 for 3.

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