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Blizzard win three at NA3HL showcase

The Blizzard’s Ian Ecklund follows through on a shot against North Iowa on November 15, 2013. Ecklund had eight points over the weekend as he helped Alexandria to a 3-1 record at the NA3HL Showcase in Illinois. (Blaze Fugina/Echo Press)

Facing teams from all over the country, the Alexandria Blizzard won three of the four games it played at the annual NA3HL Showcase in Romeoville, Illinois.

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The NA3HL Showcase is an event to bring all 21 of the league’s teams together in one location to play a four-game schedule and give college scouts a closer look at the players.

The four-game schedule started out on a sour note for the Blizzard with a 4-3 loss against St. Louis on Friday. Alexandria’s Garrett Skinner scored midway through the third period to bring Alexandria’s deficit to only one goal, but St. Louis held on for the win.

Alexandria bounced back the next day and won a 4-3 game in overtime against Flint, the team that leads the NA3HL with 48 points. Bo Gronseth scored the game-tying goal midway through the third period, and then in overtime netted his second of the game to give the Blizzard its first win of the Showcase.

After the first two games were decided by one goal, the Blizzard was able to breathe easier in the final two contests. Alexandria won 6-2 against Cleveland on Sunday and then 7-2 against Cincinnati on Monday to finish the trip 3-1.

With all of the teams that Alexandria played in the Showcase coming in with winning records, head coach Jeff Crouse said he was happy with the results.

“We’re definitely happy coming home with three (wins) and one (loss),” Crouse said.

Joe Anderson led Alexandria’s offense with four goals over the weekend, including a three-goal performance against Cincinnati. Ian Ecklund finished with eight points over the weekend, including two goals against Cleveland and four assists against Cincinnati.

Goaltender Tanner Elmore picked up two wins at the Showcase, turning away 32 of the 35 shots he faced Saturday against Flint and saving 26 of 28 shots against Cincinnati. Evan Bisek also played in two games for Alexandria, making 31 saves on 33 shots for a win against Cleveland and turning away 17-of-21 shots in a losing effort against St. Louis.

After hitting the road Wednesday to take on Granite City, the Blizzard will play two games over the weekend in the Runestone Community Center. Alexandria will host Breezy Point on Friday and North Iowa on Saturday. Both games start at 7:10 p.m.


St. Louis 1 2 1 – 4

Alexandria 0 1 2 – 3

SCORING – Alexandria – Danny Pelzer, 1 goal; Garrett Skinner, 1 goal; Jake Maxson – 1 assist; Aaron Ryback – 1 goal

Alexandria 0 1 2 1 – 4

Flint 0 3 0 0 – 3

SCORING – Alexandria – Ian Ecklund – 1 assist; Tom Schmidt – 1 assist; Bo Gronseth – 2 goals; Mick Dhein – 1 goal, 1 assist; Maxson – 1 assist; Ryback – 1 assist; Nate Mettenburg – 1 goal; Drake Hunter – 1 assist

Cleveland 0 0 2 – 2

Alexandria 3 0 3 – 6

SCORING – Alexandria – Ecklund – 2 goals, 1 assist; Zach Kihle – 1 assist; Bryce Mitzel – 1 assist; Schmidt – 1 goal; Gronseth – 1 assist; Dhein – 1 assist; Maxson – 1 assist; Ryback – 1 goal, 1 assist; Mettenburg – 1 goal; Joe Anderson – 1 goal, 3 assists

Alexandria 4 1 2 – 7

Cincinnati 0 1 1 – 2

SCORING – Alexandria – Ecklund – 4 assists; Kihle – 1 assist; Skinner – 1 goal; Schmidt – 1 assist; Gronseth – 1 goal, 1 assist; Dhein – 1 goal, 1 assist; Maxson – 1 assist; Ryback – 1 assist; Nate Mettenburg – 1 goal; Hunter – 1 assist; Anderson – 3 goals, 2 assists

Blaze Fugina

Blaze Fugina is the sports editor of the Woodbury and South Washington County Bulletin newspapers. Previously, Blaze worked as a sports editor for the Pierce County Herald and a sports reporter for the Alexandria Echo Press. He graduated from the University of Wisconsin-River Falls in May of 2011. You can follow Blaze on Twitter at @BlazeFugina.

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