Blizzard hockey: Alexandria fights through challenging stretch
The Alexandria Blizzard has reached a point in its schedule where rest and practice time have been hard to come by.
The Blizzard wrapped up a stretch of five games in nine days this past Saturday with a 6-3 loss in Austin. Alexandria traveled to Bismarck last Wednesday and fell in a shootout 3-2 before returning home on Friday in a 5-3 win over Aberdeen. The quick turnaround trip to Austin seemed to catch up to this team in the third period on Saturday as the Bruins scored three goals in the final period to pull away.
"It's a hard place to play but that's a lot of games in a short amount of time," head coach Doc DelCastillo said. "For us, it's just cramming too many games into a short amount of time. It was a full house there, great atmosphere, and we just didn't play the game we needed to play to get out of there with a win."
Hectic schedules are just a part of life for players at this level. Alexandria had to turn around after Saturday's game and play another midweek game at home against Bismarck on Wednesday before traveling to Bismarck tonight, Friday, and returning home to play Minot tomorrow.
"It's hard to do," DelCastillo said. "You're facing a lot of games in a short amount of time. It's what the schedule is, but you don't get your ideal rest, practice time. You throw travel in there and it's not easy. But it is what it is. That's why junior hockey is as tough as it is sometimes."
The one win Alexandria got last week was a big one against the third-place team in the division. Aberdeen was eight points back of the Blizzard after this past weekend. Alexandria controlled the game on Saturday night through the final two periods.
The Wings took a 2-1 lead into the first intermission before the Blizzard got three unanswered goals from Nick DeCenzo, Justin Moody and Hayden Trupp to take a lead it never relinquished. Trupp added an empty netter with a second remaining to put the finishing touches on the win.
"Our depth really came through again," DelCastillo said. "Our scoring was spread out. It was a good home game and at the time we were in second place and they were in third, so you separate a little bit from them."
Jacob Meyers got his 22nd win of the season after stopping 28 of the 31 shots sent his way. He upped his record to 22-7-1-4, with his save percentage still at .924 and a goals against average of 2.24.
Jameson Shortreed took a tough loss in another close game against Bismarck last Wednesday. Adam Knochenmus gave the Bobcats a one-goal win over Alexandria last Wednesday by connecting on his team's final chance in the shootout. Seth Ronsberg and Nick D'Avolio both scored for Alexandria in the shootout but Bismarck's Tommy Burke turned aside Trupp and Jordan Krebsbach on the final two shots.
Alexandria trailed 2-0 in a tough atmosphere before mounting a comeback to force overtime. Craig Lindegard provided a spark late in the second period with a shorthanded goal off an assist from Reid Sturos. Ronsberg then connected on a power play with less than five minutes left in regulation to bring his team all the way back.
The Blizzard has proven it can play with the Bobcats over the last four games between these two teams. Those games have been decided by a total of five goals, but Bismarck has found a way to win three of those.
"I kind of look at the positive in that situation rather than the negative," DelCastillo said. "There's a lot of teams that would have walked out of that building with a 6-1 loss after falling behind 2-0. We found a way to fight back and get a point."
At this time, the team is just trying to get through this stretch with as many points as possible. Alexandria will be able to take a deep breath after this weekend. The Blizzard have no midweek games the rest of the way and just one three-game weekend through the rest of the regular season.
ALEXANDRIA 2 0 1 - 3
AUSTIN 2 1 3 - 6
SHOTS - Alexandria - 12, 2, 12 - 26; Austin - 15, 11, 14 - 40; Power plays - Alexandria - 0-6; Austin - 1-5
SCORING - FIRST PERIOD - Austin - Jeremy Finger (Austin Nelson, Matt Hansen), 0:29; Alexandria - Craig Lindegard (Hayden Trupp), 6:25; Austin - John Kirby (Brandon Wahlin, John Simonson), 13:53; Alexandria - Thomas Williams, unassisted, 18:04
SECOND PERIOD - Austin - Jonathan Gehrt (PP) (CJ Smith), 5:48
THIRD PERIOD - Austin - Jeremy Finger (Matt Hansen), 0:15; Austin - Matt Hansen (Connor Quinn, Austin Nelson), 3:24; Alexandria - Aidan Cavallini (Dylan Zink), 17:03; Austin - Colton Kramer (extra attacker) (Brandon Wahlin), 17:41
GOALTENDING - Alexandria - Jameson Shortreed - L, 34 saves, 40 shots; Austin - Tyler Bruggeman - W, 23 saves, 26 shots
ABERDEEN 2 0 1 - 3
ALEXANDRIA 1 1 3 - 5
SHOTS - Aberdeen - 8, 10, 13 - 31; Alexandria - 13, 13, 11 - 37; Power plays - Aberdeen - 0-1; Alexandria - 1-4
SCORING - FIRST PERIOD - Aberdeen - Oliver Widding-Persson (Cory Ward, Mack Ohnsted), 9:17; Alexandria - Charlie Aus (PP) (Dylan Zink, Aidan Cavallini), 12:51; Aberdeen - Joe Mottiqua, unassisted, 13:54
SECOND PERIOD - Alexandria - Nick DeCenzo (SH) (Reid Sturos, Michael Mooney), 10:38
THIRD PERIOD - Alexandria - Justin Moody (Hayden Trupp, Dylan Zink), 4:45; Alexandria - Hayden Trupp (Justin Moody, Craig Lindegard), 8:39; Aberdeen - Kevin Becker (Paul Prescott, CJ Reuschlein), 18:26; Alexandria - Hayden Trupp (empty net) (Jameson Shortreed), 19:59
GOALTENDING - Aberdeen - Marcus Zelzer - L, 32 saves, 36 shots; Alexandria - Jacob Meyers - W, 28 saves, 31 shots
ALEXANDRIA 0 1 1 0 0 - 2
BISMARCK 0 2 0 0 1 - 3
SHOTS - Alexandria - 8, 9, 10, 2 - 29; Bismarck - 13, 15, 6, 4, 1 - 39; Power plays - Alexandria - 1-5; Bismarck - 0-3
SCORING - FIRST PERIOD - No scoring
SECOND PERIOD - Bismarck - Bryce Anderson (Donald Olivieri), 3:21; Bismarck - Donald Olivieri (Bryce Schmitt), 7:17; Alexandria - Craig Lindegard (SH) (Reid Sturos), 18:05
THIRD PERIOD - Alexandria - Seth Ronsberg (PP) (Tucker Coborn), 15:27
OVERTIME - No scoring
SHOOTOUT - Alexandria - Dylan Zink, stopped; Seth Ronsberg, goal; Nick D'Avolio, goal; Hayden Trupp, stopped; Jordan Krebsbach, stopped; Bismarck - Castan Sommer, goal; Donald Olivieri, stopped; Daniel Zawacki, goal; John Furgele, stopped; Adam Knochenmus, goal
GOALTENDING - Alexandria - Jameson Shortreed - OTL, 36 saves, 38 shots; Bismarck - Tommy Burke - W, 27 saves, 29 shots