Boys Hockey: Red Wing snaps season-long skidTwo teams headed into Prairie Island Arena Tuesday winless in Missota Conference play. Red Wing was yet to win a single game and the Sabers boasted just four wins on the season.
By: Chris Harrell, The Republican Eagle
Two teams headed into Prairie Island Arena Tuesday winless in Missota Conference play.
Red Wing was yet to win a single game and the Sabers boasted just four wins on the season.
The Wingers were hungry to get their first taste of victory and it showed. Red Wing established a 3-goal lead by the end of the first period and finally put forth a solid third period in defeating Shakopee 5-1.
“It was a must-win for us with the situation we’re in,” Wingers’ senior captain Taylor Hanson said. “We came out and showed it. It was a pretty dominating performance. It’s a huge weight off the shoulders and hopefully now the win can keep coming.”
Hanson led by example Tuesday night, finishing with two goals and an assist, including the first goal of the game.
“It was just time for someone to step up and I took that on,” Hanson said.
Senior captain Alex Rezansoff also put together a stellar performance for Red Wing with two goals and two assists in the win, the biggest goal coming on a breakaway at 8 minutes, 22 seconds of the third period to give the Wingers a 4-1 lead.
“The want comes from them,” Red Wing head coach Mike Belisle said of his senior leaders. “It starts with Taylor and (Rezansoff). … The test tonight was can they do what they’re supposed to do against a team like Shakopee.”
Red Wing’s senior goaltender Preston Blaney made the crucial saves and finished with 26 stops for the win.
The Wingers’ dominance showed in their 56-27 shots-on-goal advantage.
“The biggest thing is we put the puck on net tonight,” Belisle said.
Hanson gave the Wingers (1-13-2, 1-4-2 Missota) a 1-0 lead 5:16 into the opening period, with assists from Rezansoff and Tyler Rea. Jon Willemssen received a game misconduct for Shakopee 7:38 into the first period, and Red Wing jumped on the power-play opportunities.
Rezansoff took a pass from Kyle LaPorte and dispensed it in the back of the net for a 2-0 lead at 10:23, and Dylan Goggin also scored on the power play at 11:55 with assists to Ryan Rehder and Rezansoff. Rehder assisted on Rezansoff’s first goal as well and finished with three assists for the game.
In the second period, Preston Husom tallied the only goal on a breakaway at 5:58 for the Sabers (4-14, 0-7 Missota), cutting the Wingers’ lead to 3-1.
The one black eye for Red Wing Tuesday was a 5-minute major penalty for roughing on senior Anthony Kimmes at 15:53 of the second period. The Wingers killed it off but it was an unnecessary penalty and one that came during a non-play situation, Belisle said.
“Those ‘non-play’ penalties can’t happen,” he said. “Those top teams will make you pay.”
Despite committing 21 minutes worth of penalties, Red Wing did go 4-for-4 on the penalty kill.
“Our kill did a nice job tonight,” Belisle said. “The guys are buying into it and we had success tonight.”
The Wingers headed into the third period with only a two-goal lead, a place they are familiar with this season. On Tuesday, Red Wing finally won the final period.
Rezansoff scored on a breakaway at 8:22 and Hanson tallied a power-play goal with 1:54 remaining to seal the victory.
The win helps ease the hurt of a trying season, but the Wingers don’t want to forget what they already experienced this year.
“I don’t think (the win) covers the wounds and I don’t know if we want those wound to heal,” Belisle said. “We had to fight through that adversity. It went longer than we anticipated … but it certainly lifts weight off.”
Red Wing will attempt to follow up Tuesday’s performance Friday on the road against Farmington.