Boys' hockey: An overtime disappointmentAlexandria saw its boys' hockey season end at the hands of the Little Falls Flyers for the second straight year, this time 3-2 in overtime.
The Alexandria boys’ hockey team suffered a heartbreaking loss to end its season in the Section 6A finals last Thursday night.
The Cardinals held a 2-1 lead over undefeated Little Falls heading into the third period but could not quite hold on as the Flyers prevailed 3-2 in overtime.
Minnesota’s all-time points leader, Ben Hanowski, scored his 66th goal of the season in the third period to tie the game up at two apiece. That is how it went into overtime before Wesley Waytashek beat Alexandria for the second time this season with a goal 1:37 into the extra session.
“Disheartening,” head coach Scott Woods said of the loss. “They knew they could beat them.”
The Cardinals have proven to be right there with the Flyers all season long. All three losses against Little Falls came by one goal.
It looked like last Thursday’s game would finally find Alexandria on the winning side of a one-goal game. Thomas Williams gave his team a 2-1 lead in the second period when he scored a shorthanded goal. It was the first time the Flyers have allowed a shorthanded goal all season and the first time they have trailed going into the third period.
The Cardinals built that lead despite being delivered a huge blow early in the game. Alexandria’s first-line center, Casey Vangsness, was knocked out of the game on the second shift with a broken collarbone.
Tyler Resch, who scored the first goal of the game to give Alexandria an early lead, then took a penalty for checking from behind that kept him out of the game for 12 minutes. Despite missing two front-line players for much of the game, the Cardinals were still able to take a lead into the third.
“The game plan didn’t change,” Woods said. “We knew we had to play our best and not make mistakes. We had our chances, just like they did.”
Hanowski took advantage of one of those chances with possibly the biggest goal of his storied career up to this point.
“He is a great player,” Woods said. “Everyone knows he is difficult to contain. The good news is that we get chances when he is out there because he doesn’t work real hard defensively. He knows how to get open to score goals.”
That goal sent the game into overtime and set up the heroics for Waytashek. It was Waytashek who scored the only goal in a 1-0 win over Alexandria at the Runestone Community Center on January 22.
The loss this time around ends the season for the Cardinals and ends the career of 14 players. Dylan Carlson, Tyler Ostendorf, Jon Hennessy, Mike Sahli, Justin Aaberg, Cody Rieland, Bennett Black, Tyler Hocum, Sage Snyder, John Mohor, Marvin Wensman, Mike Canavati, Matt Hemingway and Resch all played their final game in an Alexandria jersey on Thursday night. Hemingway stopped 37 shots to end a great career in goal for his team.
“This is a great senior class,” Woods said. “It will be very difficult to replace them. I could go on and on about these guys.”
They ended their careers with a season to remember, going 22-5-1. St. Cloud Cathedral, Little Falls and Moorhead, the only teams Alexandria lost to this season, are all heading to the state tournament.
“We had a great season,” Woods said. “It is too bad this team doesn’t get the chance to play in St. Paul. I couldn’t be prouder of these guys. We only had five losses, and those teams are all headed to state. That says something about our record.”
LITTLE FALLS 1 0 1 1 – 3
ALEXANDRIA 1 1 0 0 – 2
ALEXANDRIA LEADERS – Tyler Resch – 1 goal; Thomas Williams – 1 goal
GOALTENDING – Matt Hemingway – 37 saves, 3 goals allowed