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Cardinals pile up conference wins

Alexandria’s Andy Rentschler (left) goes to congratulate teammate Levi McFarlane after a McFarlane goal gave the Cardinals an early lead against St. Cloud Tech last Thursday night. Alexandria cruised to its sixth straight Central Lakes Conference win of the season against Tech. (Blaze Fugina/Echo Press)
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Cardinals pile up conference wins
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Heading into a home game Thursday against St. Cloud Tech, the Alexandria boys’ hockey team saw another opportunity to defend its home ice and stay undefeated in the Central Lakes Conference.

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The Cardinals were able to do that by beating the Tigers 6-1 and improve its CLC record to 6-0. Alexandria was able to do so by controlling play most of the night, outshooting St. Cloud Tech 39-14.

“They were moving their feet, which is a big thing,” assistant coach Jon Crouse said. “Everyone was going hard tonight. We do that at home, we want to defend our home ice, which we did tonight.”

The Cardinals jumped out ahead of St. Cloud Tech with three goals in the second period after Levi McFarlane scored the only goal of the first period.

Ryan Marciniak scored a goal 40 seconds in the second period and again at 13:06. McFarlane then scored his second goal of the game with five seconds left in the period to give Alexandria a 4-0 lead.

St. Cloud Tech’s Andrew Setrum scored at 14:40 in the third period, but Alec Wosepka and Cammeran Brown both scored goals in the closing minutes of the game to give the Cardinals a 6-1 victory.

Sam Goetsch picked up the victory for the Cardinals in net, making 13 saves on 14 shots. He felt good about the way the Cardinals performed against a team that came into the game with a 3-3 record in the CLC.

“The guys were doing their job,” Goetsch said. “We had a couple penalties but we killed them off and played well, played as a team.”

The six goals for Alexandria were the second most for the team in a game this season. McFarlane came into the game with two goals, so he jumped at the opportunity to double his scoring numbers on the season.

“It really doesn’t happen much so it’s a good feeling,” McFarlane said.

The win helped Alexandria keep its hold on first place in the conference. The Cardinals’ overtime win against Brainerd on December 3 looms huge as the Warriors sit in second place with a 4-1 record against CLC opponents.

The two teams will square off again this Thursday in Brainerd.

“We definitely want to win the conference,” Crouse said. “Brainerd’s won it four straight years and they’re going for five in a row, which has never been done. We haven’t been on top since 2004, so we want to get back up there.”

But the Cardinals know that staying in first place will not be easy. The team expects the best effort from its CLC opponents every night as a team currently sitting in first place.

“Guys are coming after us,” Goetsch said. “They are going to chase after us to beat us so we’ve got to keep playing well.”

The Cardinals not only wanted to hold on to first place in the conference, but also maintain a home ice advantage. Winning games at home against conference opponents is a priority for any that is looking to stay in first place in the standings.

“We had our lead before the game and we’re keeping ourselves there,” McFarlane said. “Hopefully we are able to stay there throughout the season.”

GAME STATISTICS ST. CLOUD TECH 0 0 1 – 1

ALEXANDRIA 1 3 2 – 6

SHOTS – ST. CLOUD TECH (3 5 6) 14; ALEXANDRIA – (11 13 15) 39

SCORING – FIRST PERIOD – Alexandria – Levi McFarlane (Zach Johnson, Brady Bast), 8:59

SECOND PERIOD – Alexandria – Ryan Marciniak (Matt Resch), 0:40; Marciniak (Resch), 13:06; McFarlane (Alec Wosepka, Christian Canavati), 16:55

THIRD PERIOD – St. Cloud Tech – Andrew Setrum (Riley Bates, Braden Altena), 14:40; Alexandria – Wosepka (Resch, Marciniak), 15:10; Cammeran Brown (Danny Hennessy), 15:53

GOALTENDING – Alexandria – Sam Goetsch – W, 13 saves on 14 shots; St. Cloud Tech Austin Althaus – L, 33 saves on 39 shots

Blaze Fugina
Blaze Fugina is the sports editor at the Pierce County Herald. Before working at the Herald, Blaze was a sports reporter at the Alexandria Echo Press for one year and 10 months. He graduated from the University of Wisconsin-River Falls in May of 2011. You can follow Blaze on Twitter at @BlazeFugina.
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