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Hockey: Blizzard flex offensive muscle in 5-1 win

Alexandria Blizzard's Derek Dropik brings the puck across the red line Saturday night. (Jared Rubado / Echo Press)1 / 4
Alexandria Blizzard defenseman Logan Sanborn rips a shot from the point Saturday night. (Jared Rubado / Echo Press)2 / 4
Alexandria Blizzard forward Elias Thompson looks up-ice on for a breakout pass Saturday night. (Jared Rubado / Echo Press)3 / 4
The Alexandria Blizzard celebrate their fourth goal Saturday night. (Jared Rubado / Echo Press)4 / 4

The Alexandria Blizzard dominated the Willmar Warhawks 5-1 Saturday night in another strong offensive showing. The Blizzard won their second straight game against the Warhawks this season. Alexandria moves to 11-10-0-1 and holds the fourth spot in the west division.

The offense started early. Their first of five goals came 4:58 into the first period. Joe Dokken received the Val Popowski pass just inside the blue line and put it right above Willmar goaltender, Nelson Schiiler's arm.

Alexandria did not let up on the gas. Just under four minutes later, Carter Rieland potted the second Blizzard goal on a one-tap pass in front of the net from Brett Meister.

Rieland and Meister were added to the score sheet again 14:31 into the first period assisting on Dylan Giorgio's seventh goal of the season. The Blizzard took a 3-0 lead into the locker room, while outshooting the Warhawks 23-4.

The Blizzard were stymied for most of the second period until the 3:25 mark when Brandon Connett scored his seventh goal of the season on a late-period breakaway. After two periods the Blizzard led 4-0, outshooting the Warhawks 41-13.

Willmar would not leave Douglas County without tallying a goal of their own. 1:55 into the third period, Brandon Hill scored his fifth goal of the season on a back-door tap-in with traffic in front of the net. Less than five minutes later Alexandria put the icing on the cake and scored their fifth goal of the game. Rieland netted his second of the night to solidify the 5-1 win for the Blizzard.

One of the main keys to success head coach Jeff Crouse highlighted was the depth of his team.

"We have four lines that can score," Crouse said. "I can put any one of my four lines out there and trust they can get us a goal."

The coaches aren't the only ones who are noticing the success coming from all four lines.

"We need every guy in the lineup to contribute," Giorgio said. "We need to play like this every night if we want to keep this momentum going."

Keeping the momentum going is going to be key in the next couple weeks for the Blizzard.

"We have a first-place Milwaukee team coming to town next weekend," Crouse said. "We need to capitalize on our chances to win at home. We started the season playing our first 16 of 21 games on the road. It'll be nice to get these home games coming back to us as the season goes on."

The Blizzard win games with their offense. Alexandria scored five goals in a game for the fifth time this season.

"This is how we like to play," Giorgio said. "Improving on that end of the ice has been one of our focuses in practice and it's showing on the ice right now. We have to keep this going."

Alexandria will stay at home next weekend when they take on the Milwaukee Power on Friday night at 7:10 at the Runestone Community Center.

Willmar 0 0 1 - 1

Alexandria 3 1 1 - 5

SHOTS - Alexandria- 24, 17, 15 - 56; Willmar 4, 10, 3 - 17; POWER PLAYS - Alexandria- 0-3; Willmar- 0-1; PENALTIES - Alexandria- 2 minutes on 1 infraction; Willmar- 6 minutes on 3 infractions