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Boys hockey: Cards deny Brainerd chance to tie for CLC lead

For two periods it appeared the Brainerd Warriors were on the verge of moving into a first-place tie with the Alexandria Cardinals in the race for the Central Lakes Conference title.

Two third-period goals by the Cardinals ruined Brainerd’s hopes of that happening and the teams skated to a 2-2 overtime tie Monday night at Brainerd Area Civic Center.

Alexandria, which had won four straight games, tallied twice in the final 8.5 minutes to deny the Warriors a share of first.

“Obviously we played well enough (to win),” Warriors coach Jim Archibald said. “We’ve just got to learn when we’ve got that lead we’ve just got to push a little bit harder, and make it harder for the (other) guys to come back.

“They got a couple of breaks, slid a couple by. What are you going to do? The boys fought hard, they played hard, it ends up a tie.”

The Cardinals scored twice moments after separate Brainerd penalties had expired. Both were scored in scrums in front of Warriors’ goalie Jared Rubado, who was outstanding in his first start in several weeks.

The first Alexandria goal was by Brady Bast at 8:31. Ryan Marciniak tied the game at 12:30.

“I really can’t fault anybody on any of the goals,” Archibald said. “(Alexandria) worked hard, they fought, came back, so that’s the way she goes.”

Before the Alexandria goals, Rubado stymied the Cards’ Jack Steffl twice and blanked them on two power plays.

In overtime, the Cardinals had four shots to Brainerd’s three but none found the back of the net at either end of the rink.

Brainerd’s Jake Ellingson opened the scoring at 7:06 of the second with a wicked slap shot from inside the faceoff circle.

Cole Smith made it 2-0 Warriors at 9:55 of the second with a rebound of a Logan Rivard shot.

In a scoreless first, the Warriors outshot Alexandria 11-7 with each team having opportunities. Logan Rivard wristed a hard backhand off of a pass from Cole Smith that Cards goalie Sam Goetsch blocked. The Cardinals tested Rubado with a 2-on-1 rush but Rubado stifled Marciniak. He also made nice glove saves on Levi McFarlane and Parker Revering in the final three minutes.

Alexandria had beaten Brainerd 4-3 in overtime in the season opener Dec. 3. The Cardinals entered Monday’s game with eight points in the CLC compared to Brainerd’s six.

By Mike Bialka (Bialka is the sports editor at the Brainerd Dispatch)

Alexandria 0 0 2 0 — 2

Brainerd 0 2 0 0 — 2

First period: No scoring

Second period: Brd-Jake Ellingson (Logan Rivard) 7:06; Brd-Cole Smith (Logan Rivard, Ellingson) 9:55

Third period: Alx-Brady Bast (Aaron Steidl, Kevin Finley) 8:31; Alx-Ryan Marciniak (Christian Canavati, Nick Partington) 12:30

Overtime: No scoring

Shots on goal: Brd 11-6-4-3—24, Alx 7-7-7-4—25

Goalies: Brd-Jared Rubado (23 saves); Alx-Sam Goetsch (22 saves).

MIKE BIALKA may be reached at or 855-5861. Follow on Twitter at