Blizzard hockey: Alexandria claims split on the roadThe Blizzard came home with a win over Minot and a loss to Bismarck
By: Eric Morken, Alexandria Echo Press
The Alexandria Blizzard didn’t exactly play to the blueprint of how to win on the road this past Saturday against the Central Division leading Bobcats.
Alexandria traveled from Minot after a 3-2, shootout win over the Minotauros last Friday night for another game against their biggest division rivals. These two teams have played a lot of close games in the past two months, but not on this night.
Saturday belonged to Bismarck from the get-go. The Bobcats led 3-0 after the first period and 5-0 before Matt Youso scored his first goal in a Blizzard uniform at 15:14 in the second period. Bismarck went on to win 6-1 in a game that Alexandria never really gave itself a chance in.
“That was a little disappointing,” head coach Doc DelCastillo said. “I definitely don’t think we got off to the start we needed to get off to when playing on the road, especially in a place like Bismarck. It just wasn’t the start we were looking for.”
It is tough enough beating the Bobcats at even strength, but doing it shorthanded is all but impossible. Alexandria was plagued by penalties all night, including a 10-minute misconduct for checking from behind late in the second period.
The Blizzard spent 26 minutes in the penalty box and gave the Bobcats eight power play opportunities. Bismarck scored on three of those, including two in the opening period that helped set the tone for the rest of the night.
“I’m surprised to see it,” DelCastillo said. “I think the 26 minutes, there was a 10-minute checking from behind. We didn’t kill off 26 minutes, but we still killed off more than we should. Sometimes that happens. You get down, you start cheating on your defense to try to create offense because you know you need to score. It definitely surprised me. It’s not something we’re used to doing, and I don’t think we’ll continue it.”
The Blizzard played a much cleaner game the night before in Minot. Alexandria has still not lost to the Minotauros this season after Craig Lindegard and Charlie Aus gave their team a win with back-to-back goals in the shootout. Jacob Meyers turned aside all four shots he faced in the shootout to secure his 27th win of the season.
It was a relief for Alexandria after watching a lead slip away in the final seconds of regulation. Minot’s Derek Tylka tied the game at two apiece with 11 seconds left after Seth Ronsberg and Craig Lindegard had given the Blizzard a 2-1 lead. Alexandria outshot the Minotauros 44-22 but had to scrape for everything it got against Minot goaltender Tim Shaughnessy.
“The guys stepped up in the shootout,” DelCastillo said. “You’ll never really hear me complain about winning a game on the road at this time of year. That’s a tough place to play and we found a way to get two points.”
Austin coming closer
Any points are important at this time of year as Alexandria tries to hold onto the second spot in the division and home ice in the opening round of the playoffs.
Austin has closed the gap to six points after putting together a four-point weekend. The Bruins have won five straight and have two games against a five-win Minot team this week before wrapping up the weekend in Bismarck on Saturday.
Alexandria has two games in Aberdeen this weekend against a Wings team that is 11 points behind the Blizzard. With nine games left in the regular season, every point takes on a little added meaning.
“It’s important,” DelCastillo said of holding onto the No. 2 spot in the Central. “We’d like to do it, but I’m not going to sell the farm right now to get it done. It’s not any different than any other time. I’m more concerned with how we’re playing and what we’re doing. If we concentrate on the right things, the points will come.”
ALEXANDRIA 0 1 0 – 1
BISMARCK 3 2 1 – 6
SHOTS – Alexandria – 10, 14, 10 – 34; Bismarck – 12, 13, 14 – 39; Power plays – Alexandria – 0-8; Bismarck – 3-8
SCORING – FIRST PERIOD – Bismarck – Bryce Anderson (John Furgele, Patrick Moore), 4:26; Bismarck – Donald Olivieri (PPG) (Daniel Zawacki, Tommy Burke), 9:49; Bismarck – Bryce Schmitt (PPG) (Castan Sommer, Danny Ray), 14:08
SECOND PERIOD – Bismarck – Danny Ray (Patrick Moore, Rory Vesel), 3:35; Bismarck – Tyler Richter (Daniel Zawacki, John Furgele), 4:28; Alexandria – Matt Youso (Justin Moody, Aidan Cavallini), 15:14
THIRD PERIOD – Bismarck – Donald Olivieri (PPG) (Shane Omdahl, John Fugele), 19:56
GOALTENDING – Alexandria – Jacob Meyers – L, 24:28, 9 saves, 14 shots; Jameson Shortreed – 35:32, 24 saves, 25 shots; Bismarck – Tommy Burke – W, 33 saves, 34 shots
ALEXANDRIA 0 1 1 0 1 – 3
MINOT 1 0 1 0 0 – 2
SHOTS – Alexandria – 9, 15, 14, 5, 1 – 44; Minot – 6, 7, 9, 0, 0 – 22; Power plays – Alexandria – 1-3; Minot – 0-3
SCORING – FIRST PERIOD – Minot – Carl Krieger (Nolan Meyer), 2:37
SECOND PERIOD – Alexandria – Seth Ronsberg (PPG) (Vadim Gyesbreghs), 13:47
THIRD PERIOD – Alexandria – Craig Lindegard (Charlie Aus), 11:24; Minot – Derek Tylka (Joe Hockert), 19:49
OVERTIME – No scoring
SHOOTOUT – Alexandria – two goals; Dylan Zink, Seth Ronsberg, Nick D’Avolio, Craig Lindegard – goal; Charlie Aus – goal; Minot – zero goals; Carl Krieger, Hans Drawbert, Kelvin Walz, Jadin Martin
GOALTENDING – Alexandria – Jacob Meyers – W, 20 saves, 22 shots; Minot – Tim Shaughnessy – OTL, 41 saves, 43 shots