Minnesota Section 8A boys hockey tournament: Warroad, KCC advance to semifinals
By Virg Foss Special to the Herald The Warroad Warriors, gunning for their fourth straight trip to the Minnesota Class A state hockey tournament, moved closer to that goal at the East Grand Forks Civic Center on Thursday night. The Warriors, the ...
By Virg Foss
Special to the Herald
The Warroad Warriors, gunning for their fourth straight trip to the Minnesota Class A state hockey tournament, moved closer to that goal at the East Grand Forks Civic Center on Thursday night.
The Warriors, the top seed in Section 8A, steamrolled Red Lake Falls 9-3 in the opening quarterfinal game behind a natural hat trick from senior Brock Nelson.
In the second game of the quarterfinals, Kittson Country Central squandered a two-goal lead in the third period before scoring late to edge Lake of the Woods-Baudette 4-3.
Warroad and KCC will meet at 7 p.m. Saturday at the Civic Center to decide who advances to next Thursday's championship game.
Kittson County Central 4, Lake of the Woods 3: Craig Lindegard, one of Minnesota's top scorers, snapped a 3-3 tie with 3:33 left in the game to give the Bearcats the victory.
Lindegard walked out of the right corner and whistled his 46th goal of the season through the legs of LOW goalie Alex Lyon for the winner.
It was Lindegard's second goal of the game and cut short a LOW rally.
With the Bears down 3-1, Iann Sugden scored on a wraparound at 1:55 of the third period and Shea Pepera scored on a breakaway at 9:31. setting the stage for Lindegard's heroics.
It wouldn't have been possible, though, without an outstanding night for KCC senior goalie Alex Chaput. He finished with 39 saves, 29 of them in the first two periods.
"He came up big when we really needed him," KCC coach Scott Klein said of Chaput. "A goalie can make a difference at tournament time, and he was the difference for us tonight."
Chaput dove out of his crease to glove a floating puck out the air in heavy traffic in the closing minute to close out the Bears.
With the score tied 1-1 early in the second period, Chaput made a breakaway stop on Joncarlo Westerlund. Seconds later, Markas Dahl scored on a rebound on the same power play to put the Bearcats up 2-1.
Devan Schuler's goal at 9 of the second period staked the Bearcats to a 3-1 lead going into the last period.
But a goal by Sugden off a mishandled puck by Chaput and Pepera's breakaway tally made for an hair-raising finish.
"We had a little trouble getting our offense going today, so we can to rely on Chaput a bit," Klein said. "He came through for us."
Chaput didn't get rattled when his team lost the lead. "I was just hoping we could keep holding them off and win the game," he said.
He said he took a bit of a gamble diving out to snare the puck out of the air in the closing minute. "I was doing everything I could to get a whistle," he said.
Lake of the Woods, which had split two regular-season games with KCC, outshot the Bearcats 42-32.
Alex Lyon finished with 28 saves for the Bears, 17 of them coming in the third period when he hung tough to allow his teammates time to rally.
Warroad 9, Red Lake Falls 3: The big guns fired early and often for the Warriors, ranked third in the state and now 22-4 overall.
Nelson, a Mr. Hockey finalist, scored a natural hat trick and added and an assist as the Warriors raced to a 5-0 lead after one period.
"We didn't play our best hockey, but I thought we came out in the first period and dominated," Warroad coach Albert Hasbargen said. "Red Lake Falls kept coming. They played hard all 51 minutes. They didn't back down at all."
Said Red Lake Falls coach O.J. Kennett. "That was a real poor way to start," he said. "We were flatfooted and looked intimidated. I thought it was going to be a very long night. We rebounded a little bit in the second period."
Nelson's natural hat came like this:
He split the defense to score at 7:06 to make it 3-0, then went high on the short side on the goalie for his second goal at 10:36. He completed his hat trick on a rebound at 13:32.
Nelson, a UND recruit, has 42 goals this season. He also had two assists for a five-point game.
He had plenty of offensive support.
Brett Hebel scored a pair of shorthanded goals and Nick Stoskopf also had a pair of goals, one of them shorthanded.
Red Lake Falls, the No. 8 seed which finishes the season at 10-15, made it interesting for a while.
Down 6-0, Cody Hanson and Garrett Schmitz scored midway through the second period to bring the Eagles to within 6-2. Andrew Jahnke added the third goal for the Eagles early in the third period to make it 7-3, but goals by Carson Gray and Hebel ended the RLF season.
Warroad outshot Red Lake Falls 41-20.