Whether it was the finesse of the first period or the physicality of the third, the Alexandria Blizzard had no trouble playing the part in a 6-0 win over Willmar at the Runestone Community Center on Friday night.
“I think we’re one of the top teams in the league,” Alexandria forward Tanner Frerichs said. “The physically, our defensemen mainly step up on the physicality side. And with the finesse game, we’re not bad that way, either.”
The Blizzard controlled the night with a myriad of goalscorers and the balance to match. They got going right away as Frerichs found Dylan Mattson streaking to the net three minutes in. Mattson went to the backhand and flipped up a top-shelf goal, giving Alexandria a 1-0 lead.
Frerichs then doubled the advantage at the 10:47 mark in the first period. WarHawk goalie Lucas Ehrlich lost his stick while making a save, and before Willmar could clear the puck out of the zone so he could fetch it, Frerichs took advantage of the opportunity. Mattson set up Cole Lehmann for a shot, and Frerichs was waiting on the doorstep to redirect the puck and beat Ehrlich to go ahead 2-0.
“That’s huge, honestly,” Frerichs said of the two quick strikes. “Get the first goal and the second, especially at home to get our crowd behind it and into it. They usually get into it pretty good.”
The rout was on by the end of the second period.
Riley Scanlon made it 3-0 with a glide in front of the net before rifling off a shot that zipped in low and left. Dallas Duckson then netted a score of his own for a 4-0 lead.
Angelo Perry almost put the WarHawks on the scoreboard in the final five seconds of the period, but his late charge at the net ended with a shot off the post that instead rang in the second intermission.
The play turned chippy in the third period -- which included a fight between Alexandria’s Joe Dokken and Willmar’s Kevin Swope -- but the Blizzard didn’t miss a beat.
Rather, they continued the theme with another pair of goals in the final period to hit half a dozen on the night. Dylan Giorgio started it with a wrist shot for a goal that capped an extended blitz on net midway through the period.
Jack Westlund got in on the action three minutes later, becoming the sixth goalscorer of the day with a five-hole garbage goal off a loose puck in front of the net.
By game’s end, Alexandria nearly had the WarHawks quadrupled up in shots on goal with a 51-13 advantage. Kyle Hayden stopped all 13 Willmar shots he faced. Ehrlich stopped 26 of 30 shots before leaving due to injury in the second period, and Jake Summer filled in for the final 22 minutes by saving 19 of 21.
Alexandria walked out with a dominant victory in convincing fashion, so, how good can the Blizzard be?
“As good as they’ll let us,” Frerichs said. “Put us up against anyone. It worked out tonight.”
Alexandria will return to the ice at 7:30 p.m. Saturday, Oct. 20, when they take on the WarHawks once more, this time on the road at the Willmar Civic Center Arena.
ALEXANDRIA 6, WILLMAR 0
WILLMAR 0 0 0 - 0
ALEXANDRIA 2 2 2 - 6