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Blizzard hockey: Alex sweep weekend series

Three wins last weekend on the road for the Alexandria Blizzard helped them pick up their first points on the young season.

The Blizzard had no problems on offense as they outscored their opponents by a combined 11 goals over the weekend’s three games. They won 6-2 over the Twin City Steel Friday in Vadnais Heights, 8-5 against the Breezy Point North Stars on Saturday and 5-1 over the Minnesota Flying Aces in Little Falls on Sunday.

After losing 4-1 to Granite City in the season opener on September 21, head coach Jeff Crouse said the team played much better in games two through four.

“The big thing is we got better from the previous week’s one game,” Crouse said.

The wins gave the Blizzard six points, tying them for second place with North Iowa in the NA3HL West standings and two points behind first-place Granite City.

“Obviously, any time you can come away with a sweep and three wins in a weekend it’s great,” Crouse said. “So far we’re obviously pleased with where we’re at now.”

The team’s extra time together between the season opener and last weekend’s games proved beneficial. Crouse said the Blizzard’s chemistry has improved and they were better prepared for play on the road.

“Experience, granted it’s only one game, but I think the guys got a taste with what it’s going to be like, how it is playing on the road and traveling,” Crouse said. “The first four games on the road we’re 3-1, so obviously we’re pleased with that.”

Ian Ecklund and Garrett Skinner, two of the Blizzard’s top returning goal scorers from last season, were out for the weekend series. Crouse said Skinner fractured his kneecap and would likely be out for three to four weeks.

The absences from the lineup gave other players the opportunity to step into new roles in the lineup.

“We’re deep up front,” Crouse said. “It’s just going to give someone else an opportunity to produce.”

One of those players was Drake Hunter. He scored three goals against Twin City, one against Breezy Point and two against Minnesota for a total of six goals on the weekend.

“He’s one of those players we needed to step up with Ecklund and Skinner being gone,” Crouse said. “He got going right away on Friday.”

Crouse said Hunter is a player with a big body who can crash the net and create some chances. So far he leads the Blizzard in scoring with six goals. Tom Schmidt is second on the team with three goals.

“He scored some garbage goals and scored some nice goals,” Crouse said of Hunter. “It’s good to see someone like that step up and score some goals like that for us this weekend.”

Crouse said the entire team played well. Schmidt netted three goals against Breezy Point on Saturday night, and goaltenders Tanner Elmore, Patrick Anderson and Evan Bisek each picked up a win over the three-game road trip.

“It was just a good, overall team effort,” Crouse said. “A lot of guys played well.”


This weekend’s games in North Iowa have been cancelled after the North Iowa Ice Arena rink cooling system malfunctioned. The two teams are looking to reschedule the series later this season.

“It’s kind of a tough deal,” Crouse said. “We’d obviously like to go down to North Iowa. We were looking forward to that.”


ALEXANDRIA 3 1 2 – 6

TWIN CITY 2 0 0 – 2

SHOTS – Alexandria – 12, 20, 11 – 43; Twin City – 20 12 13 – 45

SCORING – FIRST PERIOD – Twin City – Jace Childs (Tanner Duffney), 1:08; Alexandria – Drake Hunter (Gavin Mindt, Tom Schmidt) 9:26; Alexandria – Bryce Mitzel (Jody Randall) 13:40; Twin City – Dylan Lincoln (PP)(Jerod Sabaska, Tyler Lodin) 15:42; Alexandria – Hunter (PP)(Mick Dhein) 19:43

SECOND PERIOD – Alexandria – Mitzel (Randall, Levi Erickson) 13:59

THIRD PERIOD – Alexandria – Hunter (Nate Mettenburg, Schmidt) 1:34; Christian Canavati (Aaron Ryback) 14:02

GOALTENDING – Alexandria – Tanner Elmore – W, 43 saves, 45 shots faced; Twin City – Thomas Terrance – L, 37 saves, 43 shots faced

ALEXANDRIA 3 3 2 – 8

BREEZY POINT 0 4 1 – 5

SHOTS – Alexandria – 22 10 13 – 45; Breezy Point – 5 18 20 – 43

SCORING – FIRST PERIOD – Alexandria – Jon Skarlis (Mitzel, Mettenburg) 2:59; Alexandria – Tre Kautzman (Anthony Martinez) 9:31; Alexandria – Hunter (Randall) 13:33

SECOND PERIOD – Alexandria – Schmidt (PP) (Mettenburg, Danny Pelzer) 3:32; Breezy Point – Kyle Whipple (SH) 4:49; Alexandria – Aaron Ryback (PP) (Trent Olson, Mettenburg) 6:04; Breezy Point- Russel Barone (Chris Hjorth) 8:35; Breezy Point – Blake Neumann (Mitch Pierson) 12:55; Alexandria –Schmidt (Dhein) 14:59; Breezy Point – Bo Borowski (PP) (Neumann, Barone) 18:26

THIRD PERIOD – Breezy Point – Scott Schroeder (Benji Smieja) 8:49; Alexandria –Schmidt (Dhein, Ryback) 9:50; Ryback (EN) 19:12

GOALTENDING – Alexandria – Patrick Anderson – W, 38:45, 19 saves on 23 shots; Evan Bisek – 21:15, 19 saves on 20 shots; Breezy Point – Joey Bergquist – L, 59:49, 37 saves on 44 shots

ALEXANDRIA 2 0 3 – 5

MINNESOTA 0 0 1 – 1

SHOTS – Alexandria – 12 11 15 – 38; Minnesota – 11 4 9 – 24

SCORING – FIRST PERIOD – ALEXANDRIA –Hunter (Randall) 14:34; Hunter (Pelzer, Randall) 15:06

THIRD PERIOD – Alexandria – Aammir Freese (Dhein, Ryback) 1:43; Alexandria – Dhein (Ryback, Schmidt) 2:24; Alexandria – Dhein (SH) (Hunter) 12:51; Minnesota – Jake Mullendore (Jordan Forschen, Jack Anderholm) 14:33

GOALTENDING – Alexandria – Bisek – W, 60:00, 23 saves on 24 shots; Breezy Point – Jaxson Gosnell – L, 33 saves on 38 shots