1/24/2019 3:42:00 PM North Branch blanked by Buffalo
Buffalo 2, North Branch 0 The Viking boys’ hockey team and the Buffalo Bison played a clean (mostly), free-flowing game and combined for 66 shots last Saturday night at Chisago Lakes Arena. Just two of those shots resulted in goals. Unfortunately for the Vikings, the Bison scored both goals and came away with a 2-0 win. Buffalo outshot the Vikings 42-24 in a game that featured very good goaltending by both teams. Buffalo goalie Nathan Mueller stopped all 24 shots he faced to pick up the shutout win. And Viking goalie Jake Turek stopped 40 of the 42 shots he faced.
Midway through the first period, a Viking defenseman pinched in too far and Buffalo’s Jake Braccini, who has committed to the University of Minnesota, broke out of the zone one-on-one. He beat the Viking defender and Turek to put the Bison up 1-0. Viking head coach Matt Cottingham said, “It’s not a surprise that a D-1 recruit won that battle.” And just over three minutes into the third period, a communication error in the Viking zone led to a wide-open shot from the point that eluded Turek to give the Bison a 2-0 lead and some insurance. The Vikings pulled the goalie late in the period and created some pressure, but just couldn’t find back of the net.
The teams combined for just three penalties – one on the Vikings and two on the Bison – until less than a minute remained in the game. One player from each team was penalized for roughing at 16:33. And as the game ended, each team picked up a penalty for slashing.
Cottingham said “It was a hard-fought battle featuring two of the best goalies in the conference. We had some chances in the first period, but we just didn’t capitalize on our odd man rushes. We made some extra passes instead of shooting or just mishandled the puck. It was a physical game, but it wasn’t chippy. No one tried to run anybody. It’s always fun to play big schools see how you compare. And if you can play defense against them, you can play defense against anybody. When you have a goalie like Jake and can defend in your own end, you’ll be okay in games where goals are at a premium, like this one.” Hockey Hullaballoo The Vikings (12-4-2) played Superior at Wessman Arena in Superior on Tuesday night. Tonight, they will head to St. Francis to take on the Fighting Saints at East Bethel Ice Arena at 7 p.m. The Vikings lost 4-2 to St. Francis earlier this season. And they will continue on the road this Saturday, heading to Rogers to play the Royals at Rogers Ice Arena at 7 p.m.