Cardinals generate 7-3 hockey victory over Bluejays

CLEARING THE ZONE — Fairmont Area goaltender Carson Johnson (88) blocks a shot by Waseca’s Brayden Hesch-Priem (33) as Cardinal teammate Tyson Pankow (18) clears the puck out of the slot during Big South Conference hockey action Thursday night at Martin County Arena in Fairmont. Fairmont Area’s Tyler Kurt (left) watches the action. (Photo by Greg Abel)

FAIRMONT — Loud music and cheering could be heard inside the Fairmont Area boys hockey team’s locker room Thursday night — given it’s been almost a month since the Cardinals won their last home game at Martin County Arena.

Fairmont Area worked the puck as a team and not as individuals to pace a 7-3 Big South Conference victory over the Waseca Bluejays in Fairmont.

“I thought we had a slow start to the game. They stayed positive on the bench. They didn’t get down on each other. They kept going. We supported each other tonight. I think that was the big difference. We didn’t leave anyone hanging, so there wasn’t any one-on-one. If they got by that first guy, there would be someone there to help and that definitely helped us,” Cardinals head coach Dylan Van Brocklin said.

Just 1:26 into the game, the Bluejays struck first as Brayden Hoof got the bounce that he needed off the right side on their third shot of the game with the assist from Brayden Hesch-Priem.

Brock Lutterman tied the game at 1-all with his ninth goal of the year with 2:07 remaining in the first period off a power-play chance. Kaiden Musser earned the assist by centering the puck on the right side.

“Right off the draw, Hartley (Aust) wanted it back to Kaiden (Musser). He came around the top of the zone and I just found a spot on the soft side. He made a great pass. Across the net and all I had to do was tap it in,” Lutterman said.

Trailing 2-1 in the second period, Jace Teveldal created some energy in the arena by scoring his 10th goal of the year with the help of Mathew Cone for the assist.

“We had the puck down in the zone for a while. We were getting scoring opportunities. We had shots after shots after shots. I saw Cone at the point and yelled for it. He shot it right at my stick. I saw the goalie’s five-hole open up. I put it through there and it went in on right side,” Teveldal said.

The Cardinals added another goal in the second frame from Lincoln Becker scoring his fourth of the year as he was able to sneak one past three defenders as Bluejays goalie Carter Martens fell down.

Tyson Pankow was credited with the assist, giving Fairmont Area a 3-2 lead at the 7:57 mark courtesy from the power play.

The Bluejays tied the game at 3-all 1:07 into the final period. Hesch-Priem scored on a short-hander to the left side on the team’s 31st shot attempt.

“First one, we were on penalty kill. I made two saves. The second one, my positioning was a little off. It snuck by me. The third one was a good shot. He beat me far side,” said Fairmont Area goalie Carson Johnson.

The Cardinals’ offense rattled off three goals in a time span of 1:04 from Nate Rakness, Connor Gronewald and Musser, with Lutterman and Aust netting the assists.

“Lucas Sommers was tied up with the defenseman. They were both on the puck. I poked it away from them. I was one-on-one with the goalie and went glove side on his left. We knew we needed one more goal. Nate’s (Rakness) goal just gave us a huge momentum booster and we were buzzing,” Gronewald said.

Beau Becker ended the game with 3.9 seconds remaining in regulation with an empty netter for the Fairmont Area.

Defensively, the focus for Fairmont Area was more on stopping the Bluejays phenom Kyle Ahlschlager as they frustrated him all game long.

In eight games against the Cardinals throughout his high school hockey career, Ahlschlager has scored 19 goals to go along with 20 assists.

Inside the goal, Johnson saved 37 of 40 shots to earn the win for the Cardinals.

Martens stopped 30 of 37 shots on net for Waseca’s lineup.

“Everyone is tired now. I told them go home and relax. Hopefully they listen and don’t stay up all night. They are a good team. We definitely have to play the way we played tonight for three periods instead of two,” Van Brocklin said.

Fairmont Area (6-13) travels to Rochester Lourdes tonight for a 7 p.m. face-off in nonconference action.


Today's breaking news and more in your inbox

I'm interested in (please check all that apply)
Are you a paying subscriber to the newspaper? *


Starting at $4.65/week.

Subscribe Today