By CHUCK FITZERNorth Branch 7, Moose Lake 3
North Branch 7, Moose Lake 3 The Vikings outshot Moose Lake 65-11, crushing the Rebels 7-3 Tuesday, December 11 at Chisago Lakes Arena. Brandon Kratzke led the Vikings with three points on a goal and two assists. Alex Miller had two goals, Jared Axberg had two assists and Tyler Cashill had a goal and an assist. Despite outshooting Moose Lake 20-3 in the first period, the Vikings trailed 1-0 as they headed into the first intermission. The bombardment continued in the second period, as the Vikings outshot the Rebels 27-1 and all those shots started to pay off. Miller scored just 45 seconds into the period, assisted by Cashill and Axberg. With just over a minute left in the period, Kratzke scored on a power play, assisted by Kaleb Larson and Ryan Zentner. Just ten seconds later, Brandon Waldo scored, assisted by Kratzke, to give the Vikings a 3-1 lead after two. The Vikings scored three goals in the first six minutes of the third period to put the game out of reach. Connor Martineau scored first, assisted by Colten Danks; then came a goal by Cashill, assisted by Axberg; and Mitch Patten scored an unassisted goal to put the Vikings up 6-1. Moose Lake scored to cut the lead to 6-2, but Miller scored on a power play, assisted by Kratzke, to stretch the Viking lead to five goals. The Rebels scored with nine seconds left to make the final score North Branch 7, Moose Lake 3. Pine City/Rush City 7, North Branch 3 Despite outshooting Pine City/Rush City by a margin of 41-24, a frustrated Viking team lost to the Dragons 7-3 at Chisago Lakes Arena on Saturday, December 15. Nate Runberg scored the only Viking goal of the first period, and the Vikings trailed 3-1 after one. The Vikings poured it on in the second period, outshooting Pine City 20-7, and their hard work paid off as they scored twice to pull within one goal at 4-3. Colten Danks scored, assisted by Kaleb Larson, and Connor Martineau put one in the back of the net, with an assist going to Brandon Timm. But in the third period, Pine City scored three times on just eight shots while not letting any of the Vikings ten shots to cross the goal line, leading to a four goal loss for the Vikings in a game they appeared to dominate. Richfield 8, North Branch 2 The Vikings once again had trouble putting the puck in the net and also had trouble stopping it, leading to an 8-2 beating at the hands of Richfield this past Tuesday, December 18 at Richfield Ice Arena. With the Vikings trailing 1-0 early in the first period, Mitch Patten scored at the 2:50 mark, assisted by Kaleb Larson and Alex Miller, to tie the game at 1-1. Richfield scored again later in the period to take a 2-1 lead after one. The Spartans scored the only goal of the second period and led the Viking 3-1 after two. Richfield put the game out of reach early in the third period, scoring three goals in the first period to take a 6-1 lead. The Spartans scored twice more and Brandon Kratzke scored an unassisted power play goal to make the final score Richfield 8, North Branch 2. The Vikings play at Mora tonight at 7:30 p.m. Next Thursday and Friday, December 27 and 28, they will play in a holiday tournament at Wadena-Deer Creek.