A tale of two different nights
What a difference a day made for the Alexandria Blizzard this past weekend.
One night after the Blizzard won 12-2 over Twin City at the Runestone Community Center, Alexandria went on the road and lost 5-0 to that same Steel team on Saturday night.
“It obviously was very surprising, especially with the way we’ve been scoring goals,” Blizzard head coach Jeff Crouse said. “But we knew and the guys knew it was going to be a completely different game. We’ve been there. Granite City beat us 8-1 and the next time we played them we won 6-3. When you get beat 12-2, there’s a lot of pride on the line. You don’t take that very lightly and they came out and played a really great game.”
Twin City goaltender Jackson Germaine stepped up to provide a backbone for a Steel defensive unit that had been dominated the night before. He improved his record to 3-4 on Saturday with his best game of the season.
Germaine has a 4.71 goals against average in seven starts, but the Blizzard couldn’t get anything past him despite sending 35 shots his way. He got some help with two first-period goals from teammates Calvin Miska and Jace Childs. The Steel then added goals from Childs, Alexander Konnov and Dylan Lincoln to run away with the game in the third.
“He made a couple of big saves early,” Crouse said of Germaine. “He got a little help from his net, too, with a few pucks hitting the post, but he got a couple saves early and then they went down and scored. He battled and their whole team obviously played a lot better.”
It also didn’t help that Alexandria was without its top scorer in Joe Anderson, who was serving a one-game suspension. Anderson retaliated after a Twin City player took a shot at him late in the second period on Friday night after the game had already gotten out of reach for the Steel.
“He got a slashing penalty and the ref thought it was a bad enough slashing penalty and gave him another game misconduct, too,” Crouse said. “It’s a mental thing, too. Joe’s been on fire and all of a sudden he’s out of the lineup and we’re struggling a little bit. Guys got to learn their lesson and make sure cooler heads prevail. Obviously, Joe Anderson is not doing the team any good sitting in the stands.”
Friday night featured a much different outcome as Alexandria exploded for nine goals in the second period. Anderson was dominant that night with five points on two goals and three assists. Ian Ecklund also added five points on a goal and four assists.
“They were really good,” Crouse said of his top two scorers. “It was good to have that game in front of a home crowd. It’s pretty rare when you score 12 goals in a game. Let alone, we scored nine goals in the second period, which is pretty rare, too. It was good for the fans Friday night and it was good for the players and the team.”
Anderson and Ecklund were hardly alone as Alexandria scored the most goals it has in a single game all season. Bo Gronseth (2 goals, 1 assist), Mick Dhein (1 goal, 2 assists) and Aaron Ryback (1 goal, 2 assists) each added three points apiece.
Alexandria remained in third place in the West Division after the weekend split with 18 points and a 9-3 record. Granite City is first with 24 points after a 12-3 start and North Iowa has yet to lose at 10-0 and is second in points with 20.
The Blizzard has the weekend off. The next series for Alexandria comes November 15-16 when North Iowa comes to the Runestone Community Center for two games. That’s the start of a busy schedule for the Blizzard as Alexandria gets set to play nine games from November 15 through November 30. The Blizzard will try to get guys healthy heading into North Iowa as the team prepares for that stretch.
“I like the break right now,” Crouse said. “We’ve played 12 games already, and we’re going to need the rest come the end of the month.”
GAME SUMMARY TWIN CITY 2 0 3 – 5
ALEXANDRIA 0 0 0 – 0
SHOTS – Twin City – 14, 6, 12 – 32; Alex – 14, 15, 6 – 35
SCORING – FIRST PERIOD – Twin City – Miska (Childs, Konnov), 6:37; Twin City – Childs (Miska, Isaac Hale), 19:48
SECOND PERIOD – No scoring
THIRD PERIOD – Twin City – Childs (Konnov, Miska), 3:50; Twin City – Konnov (shorthanded) (Childs, Hale), 17:02; Twin City – Lincoln (shorthanded) (Brennan Osen, Hale), 17:17
GOALTENDING – Alexandria – Evan Bisek – L, 27 saves, 32 shots faced; Twin City – Germaine – W, 35 saves, 35 shots faced
TWIN CITY 0 1 1 – 2
ALEXANDRIA 3 9 0 – 12
SHOTS – Twin City – 19, 7, 2 – 28; Alexandria – 27, 19, 2 – 48
SCORING – FIRST PERIOD – Alexandria – Ecklund (Anderson, Ryback), 12:15; Alexandria – Anderson (PP) (Ecklund, Zach Kihle), 14:18; Alexandria – Anderson (Ecklund, Ryback), 17:03
SECOND PERIOD – Alexandria – Bryce Mitzel (Nate Mettenburg, Levi Erickson), 0:31; Alexandria – Ryback (Anderson, Bisek), 1:56; Alexandria – Jody Randall (Dhein, Hunter), 5:44; Alexandria – Tom Schmidt (PP) (Gronseth, Mettenburg), 8:00; Alexandria – Dhein (unassisted), 14:06; Alexandria – Gronseth (Ecklund), 15:11; Twin City – Cory Johnson (Miska, Jerod Sabaska), 15:52; Alexandria – Hunter (Dhein), 16:27; Alexandria – Gronseth (Ecklund, Anderson), 17:38; Alexandria – Pelzer (PP) (Schmidt, Aammir Freese), 18:48
THIRD PERIOD – Twin City – Konnov (Miska, Ryan Zerfas), 15:31
GOALTENDING – Twin City – Jordan Moran – L, 35 saves, 43 shots faced, 34:06; Thomas Terrance – 1 save, 5 shots faced, 25:54; Alexandria – Bisek – W, 26 saves, 28 shots faced