Blizzard holds on for 5-4 victory
Heading into its game Friday against a team only six points behind in the standings, the Alexandria Blizzard knew a win over Twin City at home would be a big boost in the playoff race.
Mission accomplished. After building a three-goal lead in the third period, the Blizzard held off a charging Twin City to finish with a 5-4 victory. The Blizzard did not do itself any favors late in the game, picking up four two-minute penalties in the third period and giving Twin City plenty of chances on the power play.
“It’s nice to get a W, but we need to work on staying out of the box,” Alexandria forward Joe Anderson said.
The Blizzard spread out its scoring attack against Twin City as five players each tallied a goal. Bo Gronseth and Anderson started the scoring off as Alexandria led 2-0 after the first period.
In the second period, Tom Schmidt scored on a shorthanded breakaway to give the Blizzard a 3-0 lead. But Twin City’s Ben Ihrie and Mathias Ahman each scored in the period, as did Alexandria’s Danny Pelzer, and the Blizzard led 4-2 at the end of the second.
Nate Mettenburg gave the Blizzard a three-goal cushion after scoring three minutes into the third period. But Twin City nearly pulled off the comeback late as Ahman scored on the power play and Jace Childs netted a goal with only 40 seconds left in the game. From there Alexandria held on, giving itself an eight point lead over Twin City with eight games left in the regular season.
“It was a good win,” Gronseth said. “We needed that win; its extra points going into the playoffs.”
Blizzard head coach Jeff Crouse was happy with the team’s effort to build up a three-goal lead in the game. He also would have liked to see the Blizzard do a better job on the penalty kill after Twin City scored twice on the power play and once with an extra attacker.
“We took a couple penalties there at the end that I don’t think we should have,” Crouse said. “I thought that we should have blocked some shots there, and we’ve got to get a lot better at our penalty killing.”
The Blizzard coach was also pleased with the team’s balanced scoring. With Ian Ecklund out of the lineup due to a suspension, the rest of the team stepped up to help out on offense.
“Coming down the stretch and in the playoffs, you’ve got to have balanced scoring,” Crouse said.
The win boosted Alexandria’s record to 25-15-0. The Blizzard has a quick turnaround Saturday, making a trip to Breezy Point to play a 1 p.m. away game against the North Stars.