Eric Morken is the sports 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 Blizzard made a couple trades this past week to add to its scoring depth in acquiring Rock Einerson of the Texas Tornados and Reid Sturos out of the United States Hockey League. Sturos was the first-round pick of the Omaha Lancers in the USHL draft last year. The 18-year-old has already earned a Division I scholarship offer from Michigan Tech, based largely on the potential that he has as a 6'2", 170-pound forward who can get up and down the ice. Einerson has already proven he can play in the North American Hockey League.
The Blizzard will get a break from playing the top three teams in the Central Division this weekend when Alexandria travels to Aberdeen for Friday and Saturday night games against the Wings. That does not mean Blizzard players are breathing a collective sigh of relief. Aberdeen comes into the game with a 14-25-3 record but the Wings have given Alexandria some problems this year, posting a 3-4 record against the Blizzard in their seven games against each other. "They have good team speed," head coach Doc DelCastillo said.
Former Alexandria Blizzard goaltender Chris Kamal is another reminder of how catching a break can make all the difference in the world of amateur hockey. Two years ago, the Georgia native's hockey career was at a standstill after breaking his leg while working a construction job. Last week, he was named the WCHA Rookie of the Week after shutting out the Gophers in Minnesota for the first time in Alaska-Anchorage history. Kamal did not play hockey for an entire year after breaking his leg.
By Eric Morken email@example.com Fans packed the Parkers Prairie gymnasium on Tuesday, wondering if this would be the night the undefeated run for the Panther girls came to an end against a good Sebeka team. What they saw was a little history and just another reminder of how good this team is in a 71-60 win over the Trojans. Madison Dorn became the seventh-member of the 1,000-point scoring club at Parkers Prairie and helped her team control the game from start to finish. Dorn wasted no time reaching the milestone after entering the night needing 13 points.
The Alexandria swimming and diving team has been waiting a long time for this. The Cardinals welcomed Brainerd to town last Thursday for Parents' Night, having not beaten the Warriors in four years. That losing streak came to a dramatic end as Alexandria secured one of the best wins in recent history with a 96-89 victory that came down to the final race. The Cardinals held a five-point lead going into the 400-freestyle relay. Both coaches scrambled to adjust their personnel to get the lineup they thought gave them the best opportunity to win.
The Cardinal girls proved once again last Friday night that when they can establish the pace they want, there are very few teams that can keep up. Willmar found that out in a hurry as Alexandria ran up and down the court on its way to a 70-49 win. The visiting Cardinals came into the game winners in six of their last seven. Included in that was a win over fourth-ranked Sartell-St. Stephen on January 29. They led just once in this one. That came early after they hit three threes to take a 9-8 lead.
The goal for the Alexandria Blizzard all season has been to be playing its best hockey at the end of the year and whether or not that results in a regular season division title is secondary. Alexandria is well on its way to accomplishing that goal after another six-point week against teams in front of it in the Central Division. As a result, the Blizzard has played itself right back into that division race with 17 games left on the schedule. Alexandria is in fourth place but sits just seven points behind first-place Owatonna.
GAME RESCHEDULED The Alexandria Blizzard's game originally scheduled for this Sunday has been postponed and rescheduled for Saturday, March 12 at 7:30 p.m. at the Runestone Community Center. Tickets for Sunday's game will still be accepted at the rescheduled date. The Blizzard's recent stretch of strong play has added to the intrigue of this weekend's game with Owatonna at the Runestone Community Center. The Express comes to town tomorrow night for a 7:30 game in what will be the only game of the weekend for the two teams.
The Alexandria girls' hockey team experienced a whirlwind of emotions on Tuesday that finally ended with the Cardinals taking the ice against Hopkins that night in an attempt to move forward. First came shock for head coach Mitch Loch when he received word that his former assistant coach had died in an accident at his home in rural Little Falls on Monday evening.
The Cardinal boys' basketball team proved once again that it is never out of a game in a 51-46 win over rival Willmar on Tuesday night. Bouncing back has been the story of the young season for a team that started 0-3 but now sits alone in second place in the conference standings after running off five straight wins. Alexandria trailed 37-27 with almost 10 minutes left in the second half on Tuesday. The Cardinals made some adjustments and held Willmar to just nine points the rest of the way.