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Cardinals finish with a flurry

The Alexandria boys’ hockey team took a big step toward knocking perennial power Brainerd from its perch atop the Central Lakes Conference earlier this week.

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The Warriors are the reigning four-time CLC champions and they looked on pace to tie the Cardinals for the CLC lead with just one loss when they grabbed a 2-0 lead after two periods on Monday. That’s when Alexandria rallied for two goals in the third period that led to an important 2-2 tie on the road. Alexandria then followed that up with a 4-3 win at home over Sartell on Tuesday.

“They got a couple of breaks, slid a couple by,” Brainerd head coach Jim Archibald told Brainerd Dispatch sports editor Mike Bialka after the game on Monday. “What are you going to do? The boys fought hard, they played hard, it ends up a tie.”

The Cardinals knew they needed to strike first in the third period if they were going to climb out of a 2-0 hole. That’s exactly what happened as Brady Bast scored off an assist from Aaron Steidl and Kevin Finley. Almost four minutes later, Ryan Marciniak got the equalizer as he pounded in the puck on a scrum in front of the net at 12:31 in the period.

Alexandria had three shots in overtime and Brainerd had two, but neither team could come away with the game winner. Sam Goetsch had another nice night in net with 21 saves on 23 shots faced.

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

Tuesday’s game left the Cardinals as the only unbeaten team in the CLC as they improved to 9-0-1 with the win over Sartell. This time it was Steidl who scored what proved to be the game winner when he lit the lamp at 15:54 in the third period. It was the second goal of the night for the senior defenseman, and it came on a power play after Sartell had tied the game at three apiece on a Kyle Erickson goal in the third.

Christian Canavati and Brady Bast also scored for the Cardinals. Every goal was big on a night when neither team separated itself by more than one goal. Goetsch got the win with 13 saves as Alexandria outshot the Sabres 33-16.

The Cardinals upped their record to 12-3-2 with the two wins. They are at Bemidji this Saturday before welcoming in Willmar next Tuesday night.


ALEXANDRIA 0 0 2 0 – 2

BRAINERD 0 2 0 0 – 2

SHOTS – Alexandria – 8, 8, 9, 3 – 28; Brainerd – 10, 6, 5, 2 – 23


SECOND PERIOD – Brainerd – Jacob Ellingson (Logan Rivard), 7:06; Brainerd – Cole Smith (Rivard, Ellingson), 9:55

THIRD PERIOD – Alexandria – Bast (Steidl, Finley), 8:31; Alexandria – Marciniak (Christian Canavati, Nick Partington), 12:30

OVERTIME – No scoring

GOALTENDING – Alexandria – Goetsch – Tie, 21 saves, 23 shots faced; Brainerd – Jared Rubado – Tie, 26 saves, 28 shots faced

Eric Morken

Eric Morken is the sports and outdoor editor at the Echo Press and Osakis Review newspapers in Douglas County, MN. Follow him on Twitter at echo_sports.

(320) 763-1229