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.
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The Alexandria Blizzard's dominance of Rochester continued this weekend after an 11-0 win over the Ice Hawks (6-31) on Friday night. The Blizzard has now outscored Rochester 33-3 in three straight wins. Alexandria outshot Rochester 58-15 and scored six goals in the second period to blow things open. Brett Meister led the way with four goals and an assist. Logan Nelson had two goals and two helpers. Dylan Giorgio added three points on two goals and one assist and Brenden Payne, Elias Thompson and Josiah Roen all had goals, as well.
Gunnar Sterne is coming off a 2017 season that saw him win the $15,000 payday as the season’s TLR Cup Tour champion. Included in that run was a win in Alexandria last winter during the Champ 440 final. Now the 24-year-old from West Chicago, IL can add another victory at the Viking Speedway to his name. Alexandria in one of 10 stops for the professional snowmobilers on the TLR Cup schedule this season, and Sterne has reason to like coming here after taking home another $2,018 check.
A match-up of two top-five teams in Class A met up at the Runestone Community Center in Alexandria on Saturday afternoon as the Breck girls hockey team ended the Cardinals' 10-game winning streak. The Mustangs (14-9-1) are ranked second in the Let's Play Hockey polls, while Alexandria (18-7) is third. Both teams played about even in shots as the Cardinals put 27 on net to the Mustangs' 24. Breck made the most of those chances to secure a 3-1 win in the regular-season finale for Alexandria.
The Osakis girls basketball team showed how far this group has come over the course of this season on Friday night as the Silverstreaks knocked off Royalton 56-55. The Royals had defeated the Silverstreaks 68-43 earlier in the season, but things started to look a little different when Osakis built up a 38-23 lead in the first half.
The Alexandria boys hockey team has had some battles with section foe Little Falls over the years, and nothing changed on Friday night. The Cardinals (13-8-1) tied the Flyers (10-9-3) in the season opener on Nov. 28. The two teams were headed that way again on Friday before Alexandria junior Jack Westlund connected with a game-winning goal 3 minute, 28 seconds into overtime for a 3-2 win.
GIRLS BASKETBALL Alexandria at Henry Sibley, 11 a.m. Minnewaska vs. Eden Valley-Watkins, 6:30 p.m. DANCE Alexandria at section tournament, AAHS, 11 a.m. GIRLS HOCKEY Alexandria vs. Breck, 11:30 a.m. WRESTLING Osakis, WCA-Ashby-B-E at Royalton, 9 a.m.
The Brandon-Evansville girls basketball team snapped a two-game skid on Thursday by using some depth to take down Battle Lake 50-39. The Chargers (9-10, 7-2 Little Eight Conference) built up a 29-25 lead over the Battlers (6-13, 5-6 LEC) by the half and didn't look back from there. "Great team win for us as we had 10 girls scoring," B-E head coach Sam Lange said. "We struggled from the free-throw line in the first half, which kept the game close, but we got great play from our bench in the second half and hit the key free throws at the end."
BLIZZARD HOCKEY Alexandria vs. Rochester, 7:10 p.m. BOYS BASKETBALL Brandon-Evansville at Henning, 7:30 p.m. WCA vs. Wheaton, 7:30 p.m. Minnewaska at Morris, 7:30 p.m. Parkers Prairie at Battle Lake, 7:15 p.m. Ashby vs. Rothsay, 7:15 p.m. GIRLS BASKETBALL
The West Central Area-Ashby-Brandon-Evansville wrestling team split two matches at the Belgrade-Brooten-Elrosa Tri on Thursday night as the Knights dropped their second match of the last three contests. Both of those losses came against top-10 teams in the state. The Knights (15-3) are ranked fifth themselves in the Jan. 26 Class A Guillotine polls. Frazee is second and beat WCA-A-B-E on Jan. 30. Two days later, eighth-ranked BBE won a close 36-31 final after the Knights rolled over Royalton-Upsala 46-20.
Perhaps the best way to understand the kind of impression Hancock's Noah Kannegiesser has made among small-school programs in west-central Minnesota is to ask coaches who have to game-plan to stop him. Monday night, that task fell into the lap of West Central Area's Kraig Hunter. On Jan. 4, the Knights held Kannegiesser to 28 points in a 65-52 win for the Owls. That's a good night's work defensively against arguably the state's best scorer this winter. At the time, it was 15 points below Kannegiesser's season average.