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Tigers claw Cardinals in boys hockey clash

GAINING CONTROL — Fairmont Area defender Alexander Moeller gains control of the puck as Albert Lea forward Max Edwin (8) tries to poke it away during nonconference hockey action Thursday night at Martin County Arena in Fairmont. The Cardinals’ Hudson Artz (10), goaltender Carson Johnson and Connor Gronewald (14), along with the Tigers’ Tim Chalmers (5), watch the action. (Photo by Greg Abel)

FAIRMONT — Albert Lea’s original boys hockey season-opener was postponed Tuesday night, but the Tigers showed little signs of rust during Thursday night’s nonconference clash with the Fairmont Area Cardinals at Martin County Arena.

Junior forward Joseph Yoon and sophomore center Elijah Ferris each smacked home two goals, junior forward Tim Chalmers and senior defender Mason Studier netted one goal and one assist apiece, while netminder Dakota Jahnke produced a shutout to power the Tigers to an 8-0 triumph over the Cardinals in Fairmont.

“We still have some things to clean up, but overall I was pleased with our effort tonight,” said Albert Lea head coach Matt Erickson. “We scrimmaged at All Seasons (Arena) in Mankato on Saturday, but our game against Waseca on Tuesday was called off due to a combination of Covid cases and injuries there. Fortunately we were able to pick up this game.”

Ironically, Fairmont Area was originally slated to play host to Waseca on Thursday night.

Unfortunately for the Cardinals, Chalmers and Max Edwin looked in midseason form as the pair of Tigers worked a perfect 2-on-1 break to stake the visitors to a quick 1-0 lead. Edwin rushed the right wing before filtering a crossing pass to Chalmers, who drilled his left-wing shot by Fairmont Area sophomore goalie Carson Johnson at the 13:25 mark.

Jack Ladlie and Studier then reversed their attacking direction as Ladlie flipped a crossing pass from the left wing to Studier, who backhanded a skate-by shot inside the right pipe for a 2-0 edge with 6:12 left in the opening period.

Yoon then displayed his speed, power and accuracy to capitalize on a power-play opportunity. The Tigers’ junior skated around the back of the cage before hardly breaking stride in firing a left-doorstep riser into the top right shelf at the 2:49 mark for a 3-0 lead.

Luke Kester produced one of the Cardinals’ best chances by fielding one of Jahnke’s ricocheted blocks near the blue line and unleashed a slap shot that the Tiger goalie rejected with his blocker pads at the 11-minute mark.

Brock Lutterman nearly transformed Fairmont’s short-handed situation into a goal when he stole an Albert Lea clearing pass and flipped ahead to Alexander Moeller. Moeller’s ensuing shot, however, was batted out of harm’s way by Jahnke to keep the game at 3-0 with time winding down in the first frame.

“Our junior class is tough, and we’ve got depth there,” said Erickson. “We will lean on them to carry us more as the season progresses.”

Chalmers, one of those juniors, spotted another junior — Joshua Behrends — for a point blast that lit the lamp during a short-handed situation at the 14:12 mark of the second period.

Studier then transitioned into a playmaker by finding Gavin Quam for a right-wing goal before Yoon took Edwin’s stolen pass and went end-to-end to beat Johnson one-on-one for a 6-0 lead with 21 seconds left in the middle segment.

Farris then hammered home a right-wing one-timer off Spencer Van Beek’s pass before Farris netted his second goal off a doorstep chip-in with 7:35 left in regulation to cap the Tigers’ season-opening win.

Fairmont Area (1-1) travels to Faribault for another nonconference game on Tuesday night, while Albert Lea (1-0) hits the road to Graham Arena in Rochester next Thursday night to square off against Rochester Century.

Albert Lea 3-3-2–8

Fairmont 0-0-0–0

Scoring Plays

1st Period

AL–Tim Chalmers (Max Edwin), 13:25.

AL–Mason Studier (Jack Ladlie), 6:12.

AL–Joseph Yoon (unassisted), PP., 2:49.

2nd Period

AL–Joshua Behrends (Chalmers), SH., 14:12.

AL–Gavin Quam (Studier), 12:01.

AL–Yoon (Edwin), 0:21.

3rd Period

AL–Elijah Farris (Spencer Van Beek), 14:50.

AL–Farris (unassisted), 7:35.

Shots on goal: Fairmont Area 11-9-3–23; Albert Lea 6-8-10–24. Saves: Dakota Jahnke (AL) 23; Carson Johnson (FA) 16.

Penalties: Albert Lea 8 for 19 minutes; Fairmont Area 5 for 10 minutes. Power-play chances: Albert Lea 1-for-3; Fairmont Area 0-6.

Girls Hockey

Waseca 1, Fairmont Area 0 — Sophomore forward Izabela Slectha netted the Big South contest’s only goal during the second period, and goaltender Illamay Draheim produced a shutout to slide the Bluejays to a narrow one-goal win over the Cardinals on Thursday night in Waseca.

Slectha converted an assist from Maizee Storey into the only net-finding shot of the night at the 10:50 juncture of the middle 17-minute segment.

Draheim then turned away 16 of Fairmont Area’s 39 total shots on goal during the third period, while Cardinal netminder Rachel O’Connor stopped all nine of the Bluejays’ final-period shots en route to 21 saves on the game.

Fairmont Area (2-3-1) travels to New Ulm next Thursday night for a Big South game, while Waseca (2-4) hits the road to Luverne on Saturday for a noon clash.

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