|2/14/2020 10:21:00 AM|
Turek can't return soon enough for reeling Vikings
Monticello 7, North Branch 1
Playing at Monticello, Viking Tucker Sachs scored the first goal of the game at 4:51 of the first period, assisted by Joey Kerchner and Zach Larson. But the Magic answered just 13 seconds later tie the game at 1-1. They scored six more goals – two in each period – to beat the Vikings 7-1. The game was played Friday, February 7 at Moose Sherritt Arena in Monticello. The Magic dominated most phases of the game, outshooting the Vikings 41-18. One bright spot is that the Vikings did a good job on the penalty kill, not allowing a goal in four Monticello power plays.
Princeton 5, North Branch 1
Princeton led 3-0 before Tucker Sachs scored late in the second period, assisted by Matt Dekanick, to cut the Tiger lead to 3-1. But the Tigers came out roaring in the third period, outshooting the Vikings 16-6 and scoring twice to make the final score Princeton 5, North Branch 1. The game was played Saturday, February 8 at Princeton Ice Arena. The Vikings struggled on the penalty kill in this one, allowing two goals on three Tiger power play opportunities.
Starting goalie Jake Turek has missed the last five games with an injury, and it’s no coincidence that the Vikings have lost three straight. Unfortunately, all three losses have been to Section 5A opponents, dropping the Vikings from first to third in the section QRF rankings. The Vikings have just one regular season game left, tomorrow night against the Mound-Westonka White Hawks at 7 p.m. at Thaler Hockey Arena in Mound.
The Section 5A playoffs start next Tuesday, February 18. Assuming the Vikings hang on to the third seed in the section, they will get a first-round bye. Turek is back from his injury and will get two chances to shake off the rust before sections. He was scheduled to play the third period against Breck this past Tuesday, February 11 and will play the whole game tomorrow night against Mound-Westonka.
Viking head coach Matt Cottingham is looking forward to having Turek back in the net. He said, “Jake is our best player and our X-factor.” With Turek likely back in the nets and healthy, the Vikings - who went to the state tournament for the first time in program history last year - will be the odds-on favorite to get to the section championship game, likely to face Monticello. The Vikings’ first playoff game will be in the quarterfinals Thursday, February 20, and they will likely play against either Northern Lakes or Chisago Lakes at home.