2/18/2010 10:35:00 AM Vikings put up 15 goals in two wins
BY CHUCK FITZER
North Branch 5, Moose Lake 3
The Viking boys' hockey team knocked off first place Moose Lake for the second time this season, scoring two shorthanded goals as they beat the Rebels 5-3 last Thursday night, February 11 in front of a packed house at Moose Lake Arena.
There was a lot of action in the first period, but no scoring. The Vikings took the first four penalties of the night and killed off each one, including one 5- 3 Rebel advantage. "We have had a lot of practice on the penalty kill this season and are very good at it," said Viking head coach Randy Gendreau. "Our guys can anticipate the flow and pick off passes that result in many scoring opportunities." The Vikings outshot Moose Lake 12-11 for the period.
Second period scoring opened with Viking Michael SantaBrigida blasting a rocket from the slot, with assists from Jarrett Sachs and Caske Owen, to put the Viking's up 1-0. Gavin Runberg added a shorthanded goal on a beautiful feed from Brendon Bartholmy. "Brendon plays defense for us," said Gendreau, "but we started putting him on the penalty kill at forward because of his huge wingspan."
Moose Lake came back with two goals to tie the game at 2-2. Later in the period, Owen scored a shorthanded goal on a laser from the point to put the Vikings back up by one. Owen opened the third period with another goal, this time with a snap shot that beat the Moose Lake goalie on the short side.
SantaBrigida then scored a coast-to-coast goal to put the Viking's up 5-2 and the Vikings went into shutdown mode. The Vikings let one more Rebel goal slip by with 30 seconds left in the game, but they finished the night with a 5-3 road win.
North Branch 10, Becker/Big Lake 2
Viking scoring leader Jarrett Sachs had four goals and two assists to lead the Vikings to a 10-2 blowout last Saturday February 13th at a home game at the Schwan's Super Rink in Blaine. The Viking faithful witnessed a several firsts in the game. Tanner Danks recorded his first varsity goal and the Vikings, just for fun, switched goalies on the fly in the third period. "We certainly had fun with that," said Gendreau. Calvin Miska became the first Viking sophomore to record a five point night in a North Branch Varsity game, with two goals and three assists.
The Vikings led 3-1 after the first period and exploded for six straight goals in the second to take a 9-1 lead into the 3rd period. The Viking had four power play goals and another shorthanded tally. Gavin Runberg had a career high four assists. "We have key guys stepping up in areas other than goal scoring," said Coach Gendreau. "We switched Tommy Toohey to defense and he has done fantastic job. We were scrimmaging one day at practice and Tommy jumped out and played defense on a shift. I looked up to see Tommy taking one of our goal scorers out of the play, resulting in no shot on net, and he skated the puck back up the ice for a goal. So we put him back at defense for the next couple of practices, threw him out there for the next couple of games and guess what? He lights it up at defense and keeps getting better.
The Vikings finish the regular season on the road this Saturday at 3:30 at New Hope Ice Arena.
The Vikings (13-7-3 overall, 10-3-0 conference) will play their first home section playoff game ever next Tuesday, February 23 at Chisago Lakes Arena at 7 p.m. The eighth-seeded Vikings will face ninth-seeded Moose Lake. Even though Moose Lake finished ahead of the Vikings in the Two Rivers Conference standings, the Vikings got the higher seed by virtue of their season sweep of the Rebels. The Vikings were the highest-seeded Two Rivers Conference team in any section this season, including conference champions Moose Lake. If the Vikings beat the Rebels, they get to play the top seed n the section and number second-ranked team in that state, Hermantown, at Hermantown Thursday, February 25 at 7 p.m.