Blizzard hockey: Alexandria stops MinotThe Blizzard still in second place after 5-3 victory
The Alexandria Blizzard remained unbeaten against Minot with a 5-3 win that moved the team 10 games over .500 and helped them hold onto the second spot in the Central Division last Thursday.
The win was the fifth straight for a Blizzard team that seems to be putting everything together going into the second half of the season. Austin Hoff gave Minot an early lead in the first before Alexandria responded with three straight goals.
The Blizzard took advantage of two power plays in the first to grab a lead it would not relinquish. Nick D’Avolio tied things up at one apiece at 10:37 before Reid Sturos gave his team the lead almost six minutes later.
“The biggest thing we talk about as a team is when you are on the road, you don’t want the first period to get out of hand,” Blizzard head coach Doc DelCastillo said. “Keep it within a one goal game one way or the other. Most athletics, if you can get the lead early, that usually builds on itself. If you can grab that early lead, good things are usually going to happen.”
That was the case for Alexandria on this night. The Blizzard carried the momentum into the second period and put up three more goals to pull away. Dylan Zink scored to make it 4-2 at 10:09 in the period before Sturos added his second goal of the night and eighth of the season to give his team a 5-2 lead.
The killer for Minot came a little less than four minutes into the second off the stick of Thomas Williams. The Minotauros had an opportunity to even things up on a power play. Instead, Williams put in a shorthanded goal that gave his team all the momentum.
“I think that might have made the game,” DelCastillo said. “That’s a big goal. They think, ‘here’s our opportunity to get going.’ It was a great play by Tommy cutting across the slot. He made a really nice goal. Those plays like that are big. I don’t know when’s the last time we had a shorthanded goal, but it was nice to see.”
It was reassuring for DelCastillo to see his special teams make big plays throughout the night. Alexandria is finally getting healthy and able to get the guys they want on the ice during power plays and on their penalty kill. The Blizzard were 2-for-6 on the power play, while killing eight power plays for Minot.
“If there is one area going forward where we can improve, it’s our power play,” DelCastillo said. “We just in the last couple weeks solidified things as far as the personnel we want on it. So it was good to see us having some success.”
The offense gave goaltender Jacob Meyers a lot to work with as the Minnetonka native got his 16th win of the season. Meyers has now won all five games in Alexandria’s current winning streak. He stopped 31 of the 34 shots sent his way.
The Blizzard will now take its 20-10-2 record to Aberdeen for two games against the Wings this weekend. Aberdeen is in fourth place in the Central Division but just three points behind the Blizzard.
Alexandria will return home next Thursday night against Minot for its first of three straight games at the Runestone Community Center next weekend. The Blizzard will wrap up the doubleheader with Minot next Friday before welcoming in first-place Bismarck on Saturday at 7:30 p.m.
ALEXANDRIA 2 3 0 – 5
MINOT 1 1 1 – 3
SHOTS – Alexandria – 12, 16, 6 – 34; Minot – 13, 8, 13 – 34; Power plays – Alexandria – 2-6; Minot – 0-8
SCORING – FIRST PERIOD – Minot – Austin Hoff (Ben Hughes), 5:41; Alexandria – Nick D’Avolio (PPG) (Michael Mooney, Reid Sturos), 10:37; Alexandria – Reid Sturos (PPG) (D’Avolio, Michael Monney), 16:42
SECOND PERIOD – Alexandria – Thomas Williams (shorthanded) (Vadim Gyesbreghs), 3:54; Minot – Jadin Martin (Ben Hughes), 7:31; Alexandria – Dylan Zink (Sturos), 10:09; Alexandria – Sturos (D’Avolio, Hayden Trupp), 13:00
THIRD PERIOD – Minot – Jadin Martin (Matt Lindquist), 2:47
GOALTENDING – Alexandria – Jacob Meyers – W, 31 saves, 34 shots; Minot – Tim Shaughnessy – L, 29 saves, 34 shots
PENALTIES – Alexandria – 31 minutes on 10 infractions; Minot – 27 minutes on eight infractions