Boys Hockey: Crookston holds off Wingers' chargeAfter a porous first period, Red Wing recovers to stick with visiting Pirates, but it was not enough in a 2-1 loss Saturday
By: Joe Brown, The Republican Eagle
The first 17 minutes of Saturday’s home game against Crookston was some of the most aggravating periods of hockey this season for the Red Wing boys hockey team.
In that stretch, the Wingers were out-shot 15-5, gave up two goals and had to fight through a 5-minute major.
“We were playing unconfident, without passion for the purple jersey. We were playing scared at times,” said Red Wing head coach Mike Belisle. “We were not doing the little thing;, we were being selfish for the majority of the first period.”
In the second and third periods, Red Wing bumped up its play but could not climb out of the two-goal deficit in a 2-1 loss at Prairie Island Arena.
“You could tell they were going to get on us right away,” said Wingers senior goaltender Preston Blaney, who finished with 34 saves. “If we would have played that first period like we played the third, no doubt that that game would have switched for us.”
Early on, Red Wing (2-16-2) kept up with Crookston as Kyle LaPorte sprang loose for a 1-on-1 opportunity that went wide of the net. From that point, the Pirates controlled the game with a strong forecheck, getting on the scoreboard at 13 minutes, 13 seconds on an unassisted goal by Brady Heppner.
Hampering the Wingers’ hope of tying the game was a five-minute checking-from-behind penalty on Alex Rezansoff at 15:09. Forty seconds into the power-play, Crookston’s Ryan Edevold make it a two-goal game, blasting a wrist shot past Blaney.
“We can’t put ourselves in those type of situations to put them on the power-play opportunity for a 5-minute major,” Belisle said.
While the team only put up five shots, Red Wing came out in the second playing more aggressive and more disciplined, going without a penalty and keeping the score at 2-0.
“We were being more physical and getting to the corners and not being afraid to come out with the puck and leaving someone on the ice,” Blaney said of the Wingers’ turnaround after the first. “Playing the man and putting the pressure on them instead of the other way around.”
Trying to close the gap, the Wingers’ first opportunity at 14:44 of the third period came up short as a shot by Anthony Kimmes bounced off the post. Later in the period, a shot on a wide-open net by Mitch Ramstad went above the crossbar.
With 33.4 seconds left in the game and with an extra attacker on the ice, Red Wing finally got on the board on a goal by Dylan Goggin. Ryan Rehder notched an assist on the play.
“Everyone was a part of that goal at that part of the game,” Belisle said. “Everyone had a hand in believing that we’d pop one in and have an opportunity.
“We had a couple other opportunities to put pucks on net. They’re going to learn that the more opportunities you put in front of you, the more success you’re going to have.”
In a frantic 30-second span at the end of the game, the Pirates (11-12) were able to keep the puck away from the Wingers, leaving the ice with the non-conference win.
On Tuesday, Red Wing stays at Prairie Island Arena for a Missota Conference matchup with Chanhassen.