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March 20, 2019

1/31/2019 4:03:00 PM
Vikes stay tight in losses to elite competition

Superior (Wisc.) 4, North Branch 3 (O.T.)
Tucker Sachs scored late in the third period against the Superior Spartans Tuesday, January 22 to tie the game at 3-3 and send it into overtime, but the Spartans scored in overtime to win 4-3.  Sachs was involved in all three Viking goals, with two goals and an assist.  The game was played at Wessman Arena in Superior, Wisc.

Cody Croal scored in the first period, assisted by Joey Kirchner and Sachs, and the game was tied 1-1 heading into the first intermission.  Sachs scored a power play goal in the second period and the Vikings were up 2-1 after two.  Justin Sachs and Jake Richards picked up the assists. Croal and Justin Sachs assisted on the third period goal by Tucker Sachs.  The Vikings can’t complain about home cooking from the referees in this one, as the Spartans were called for ten penalties to just four for the Vikings.
North Branch 5, St. Francis 2
Cody Croal scored a hat trick, with a goal in each period, to lead the Vikings to a 5-2 win over the St. Francis Fighting Saints Thursday, January 24 at East Bethel Ice Arena.  The Vikings broke open a close game with three goals in the third period to salt away the win.  The game was somewhat of a hackfest, with ten penalties called on the Saints and eight penalties called on the Vikings.  The Vikings went two for eight on the power play, while holding the Fighting Saints to one goal in six opportunities.

With just over a minute left in the first period, Croal scored the first goal of the game on a power play,  He was assisted by Jake Richards and Justin Sachs, and the Vikings led 1-0 after one.  The Saints tied it up with a shorthanded goal midway through the second period.  But Croal came through with another late-period goal.  This time, he scored with 38 seconds left in the period, assisted by Richards, and the Vikings were back on top at 2-1.

Croal scored an unassisted goal just over five minutes into the third period to complete his first hat trick of the season and give the Vikings a little breathing room at 3-1.  Sachs added a power play goal at 10:33, assisted by Croal, to give the Vikings a three-goal lead.  Richards put in an empty-netter with just under a minute left in the game.  The Flailing Saints scored a power play goal with 16 seconds left, but it was too-little, too-late and the Vikings came away with a decisive win over a Mississippi 8 Conference opponent.  The Vikings outshot the Saints 36-26 for the game.  Viking goalie Jake Turek stopped 24 of the 26 shots he faced.
Rogers 3, North Branch 2
Charles Levis of the Rogers Royals scored with 1:44 left in the third period to break a 2-2 tie and give the Rogers Royals a 3-2 win over the Vikings in a Mississippi 8 Conference showdown at the Rogers Activity Center Saturday, January 26.  And after the penalty-fest against St. Francis, this game was very clean.  There were just two penalties called in this game – both on Rogers and both in the first period.  Lady Byng would have been proud, but Gordie Howe would have been disappointed.

The Royals opened the scoring six minutes into the first period to go up 1-0.  The added a power play goal a minute later to take a 2-0 lead.  But Joey Kirchner scored an unassisted power play goal for the Vikings at 9:35 to cut the Rogers lead to 2-1 after the first period.  After a scoreless second period, Justin Sachs tied things up with a goal at 9:14 of the third period, assisted by Kirchner and Cody Croal.  It looked like the game might be headed to overtime, but Levis’s late goal sent the Vikings down to defeat.  The Royals outshot the Vikings 33-28 for the game, and Viking goalie Jake Turek stopped 25 of the 28 shots he faced.

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