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Boys Hockey: Northfield zips past Red Wing

Red Wing captains Alex Rezansoff (left) and Taylor Hanson (7) race down the ice as a pair of Northfield defenders give chase during the first period of Thursday's Missota Conference game at Prairie Island Arena.1 / 3
Red Wing defenseman Michael Bigelbach (right) unloads a shot from the top of the circle towards Northfield goaltender Spencer Jones (left) as Raiders defenseman Jacob Noel (7) pursues during the first period Thursday in Red Wing.2 / 3
Red Wing's Ryan Rehder crosses center ice during the third period against Northfield Thursday at Prairie Island Arena.3 / 3

The goal was simple: don't turn the puck over.

With the top goal scorer in the Missota Conference in Northfield's Andrew Scofield across the ice, the Red Wing boys hockey team wanted to do everything it could to keep the Raiders' senior off the board. And it worked for the first 16 minutes of Thursday's home game.

But with 51 seconds remaining in the first period and with Northfield on the penalty kill, Scofield stole the puck and buried a wrist shot past Wingers goalie Preston Blaney to take the lead and all the momentum away from Red Wing on the way to an 8-2 victory.

Scofield, who leads the Missota with 19 goals, had three goals and an assist in the Raiders' win.

"The way we look at it, (the short-handed goal) was a two-goal swing," said Wingers head coach Mike Belisle. "We had the right plays set up to come back, but we turn the puck over down low and they scored that shorty. That really erodes your confidence."

Just 2 minutes, 25 seconds into the game, Red Wing (0-10-1, 0-1-1 Missota) looked ready to play spoiler when Taylor Hanson worked behind the net and found Alex Rezansoff open in the slot for his team-leading sixth goal of the season. Michael Bigelbach also had an assist on the play.

"In practice, we've been working on our fore checks a lot," Rezansoff said. "We had a lot of good pressure down low with Hanson and (line mate Dylan) Goggin. Hanson got me the puck and I finished one."

Northfield responded at 9:50 when Torr Legvold got the puck at the point and ripped a shot past Blaney to tie the game.

Then, with time winding down in the period, Scofield's short-handed goal put the game firmly in the Raiders' control.

"A couple mistakes really killed us there and swing it (the momentum) their way," Rezansoff said. "And we never got it back."

Midway through the second period, special teams aided Northfield again when Logan VonRuden scored on a slap shot. Then with 23.2 seconds left in the second, Legvold scored his second goal of the evening for the three-goal lead after 34 minutes.

"We got down a little bit and it became a confidence thing," Belisle said.

The Raiders (9-3, 3-0 Missota) tallied four more goals in the final period with two by Scofield and two more goals by Ryan Malecha and Nate Picha.

"A player like that, you're never going to completely shut him out for the night," Rezansoff said of Scofield. "You got to play really defensive-minded."

At 9:23, Jamie Nevitt got the Wingers back on the board, poking in a goal off the set-up by Goggin.

Still without a win, the mood in the locker room was different for Red Wing after Thursday's loss. The Wingers will play their next three games on the road, starting with Chanhassen on Tuesday before away tilts against Holy Angels and New Prague. The team returns home on Jan. 17 against Chaska.

"This is a locker room - we call it a family room - scenario," Belisle said. "Tonight (in the locker room), silence. Tonight's performance speaks for itself.

"We need to put it behind us and move forward, and play like we know how we can play. We've showed that. And we're losing that in the record right now."

Joe Brown

Joe Brown is the sports editor for the Red Wing Republican Eagle. Previously, he worked at the Marshall Independent and the St. Cloud Times. For updates on local sports, follow Joe on Twitter at @RE_JBrown.

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