January 21, 2010 at 9:42 a.m.
North Branch 8, Minneapolis West 4
Sophomore Calvin Miska scored his first high school hat trick and senior Lane Noyes set a North Branch high school boys hockey record with five assists to lead the Vikings to an 8-4 conference win over Minneapolis West last Tuesday, January 12 at the Parade Ice Garden.
Tied 1-1 after the first period, the Vikings exploded with five goals in the second period and two more in the third. "We have scored goals in bunches quite a few times this season," said Viking head coach Randy Gendreau. "Scoring is contagious and when we pop one in, we just keep working and good things happen. We have some guys who can finish and smell blood every time we get near the net. We work very hard at practice hitting the net with our shots and following our shots to the net."
Three other players had two points apiece. Senior Jarrett Sachs had two goals, and Brendon Bartholmy and Ken Broden each had one goal and one assist.
The win brought the Vikings to within a half game of first place Moose Lake and set up a showdown for the conference lead at home Saturday, January 16.
North Branch 7, Moose Lake 4
The Vikings did not disappoint a packed house on Senior Night, exploding for six goals in the second period on their way to a 7-4 win over Moose Lake last Saturday at Chisago Lakes Arena. The win pushed the Vikings past the Rebels into first place in the Two Rivers Conference. And the seniors made the most of their special night, scoring five of the seven Viking goals.
But the Vikings couldn't have done it without an amazing performance by freshman goalie Hunter Miska. Miska stopped 56 shots on the night, including 30 of 32 in the third period. The Rebels outshot the Vikings 60-30 for the game and 32-5 in a penalty-filled third period. "I am not pleased how we finished out the third period taking senseless penalties," said Gendreau. "We will address this at our practice next week by doing a little extra conditioning. You can never be in too good a shape, anyway."
Junior forward Tommy Toohey banged in a rebound to draw first blood against the Rebels. But the Rebels beat freshman goalie Hunter Miska twice on 17 shots to take a 2-1 lead going into the second period.
Viking head coach Randy Gendreau must have made one heck of a locker room speech between the first and second periods as the Vikings came out and poured it on. Viking seniors scored five of the six second period goals, including two by Gavin Runberg and one goal each for Jarrett Sachs, Lane Noyes and Adam Wuertz. Sophomore Calvin Miska, who has now scored in five straight games, scored the other second period goal for the Vikings, who took a commanding 7-2 lead after two periods.
"I challenged my seniors tonight, and they met that challenge and then some," said Gendreau. "I've told Gavin Runberg he is way better than he thinks he is. He has blazing speed and great hands. Today, Gavin beat a very good goalie with a snap shot rocket with the space just big enough for a puck to go through, just over the short side blocker side top shelf. There are people who may say Gavin was lucky, but no way! I've seen this young man do it all the time in practice."
Gendreau continued, "I couldn't be more proud of all of my seniors and the effort they have put forth. These kids have really paid their dues the last three or four years. Said senior captain Gavin Runberg "As a team, we are determined to go out winners. This is not only the mindset of our seniors but of the whole team. Anything less than our best effort is unacceptable." Added senior captain Jarrett Sachs "Coach G has brought the one shift, one period, one game at a time mind set to our team. He has taught us to play in the moment and not let the things we can't control get to us and in our heads. We have produced wins based on that philosophy and we implement it each and every time we lace up our skates."
The Vikings will take on Becker/Big Lake tonight at Princeton at 7 p.m. before returning to conference play next Monday, January 25 against Meadow Creek Christian at 7 p.m. at Chisago Lakes Arena.