ADVERTISEMENT

ADVERTISEMENT

Blizzard hockey: Coulee Region too much for Alexandria

The Alexandria Blizzard made the idea of taking third place in the Central Division an uphill battle after two slow starts ultimately resulted in two losses on its home ice against Coulee Region this past weekend.

The Alexandria Blizzard made the idea of taking third place in the Central Division an uphill battle after two slow starts ultimately resulted in two losses on its home ice against Coulee Region this past weekend.

The Blizzard fell behind 4-0 on Friday and 3-1 on Saturday. Alexandria made things close in 6-4, and 6-3 games but could never fully recover as it watched the Chill move seven points ahead in the division standings.

The Blizzard came into the weekend with a shot at gaining sole possession of third place in the Central. Instead, Alexandria's climb toward the top got a little steeper. It was not the outcome he wanted, but head coach Doc DelCastillo was hardly ready to hit the panic button.

"I mean, of course you're disappointed," he said. "But I don't think it's the end of the world. We're not even half way through our season yet. There's plenty of time to make some adjustments and improve in the areas we need to improve in. But of course, it doesn't help in the standings."

Digging itself into early holes is something this team cannot continue to do if it wants to improve going forward. Coulee Region scored just 15 seconds into the game on Saturday. The Chill then made it 2-0 before two minutes had run off the clock.

ADVERTISEMENT

"Those are things that happened early in the game that kind of affected our psyche through most of the game," DelCastillo said. "It's very hard to win hockey games when you get down 4-0, 3-1. Those are things we have to correct. We have to come out of the locker room better."

Coulee Region made it 3-0 before the Blizzard finally got on the board with about a minute left in the period. Alexandria's Thomas Williams stopped the bleeding off assists from Brent Bain and Paul LaDue.

The Chill did not let that snowball. Coulee scored the lone goal in the second before making it a 5-1 game early in the third.

The Blizzard did not quit. Alexandria got three unanswered goals from Alex Altenbernd, Josh Gaughan and Steve Zierke to make it 5-4 with almost two minutes left. It was not quite enough as Micky Knox scored on an empty net with 12 seconds left to wrap up the sweep.

"I don't think our team is out of any game, ever," DelCastillo said. "That shows tremendous character, tremendous fight. I've seen those games that start out like that and our guys regroup. They fought back and made a game of it both nights, but yet, we have to learn we can't dig ourselves into those holes."

The Blizzard had to dig out of an even bigger hole on Friday night. Coulee Region took advantage of two power plays as it jumped out to a 4-0 lead by the first intermission.

Zierke and Gerald Owen responded for Alexandria in the second. They scored within the first two minutes to cut the lead in half.

The Chill just had an answer all weekend. Connor Gaarder converted on the power play for the second time that night with almost a minute left in the second period. Mike Krieg got one back for Alexandria to start the third, but it was too little, too late as Zac Frischmon added an empty-netter late in the game to secure the win.

ADVERTISEMENT

The Blizzard has a chance to rebound against Aberdeen this weekend before getting 12 days between games over Christmas. Alexandria welcomes the Wings to the Runestone Community Center tonight, Friday, for a 7:30 drop of the puck. The two teams will meet again tomorrow night in Aberdeen. The Wings cannot get here soon enough for the Blizzard.

"I would think they are majorly disappointed in last weekend," DelCastillo said of his team. "If they're anything like me, they can't wait for the puck to drop. If we could play tonight, I would play tonight.

"We'll see. Each game is different. That's why you play 50 games. You've got to learn lessons and get better. As a coach, you got to teach them after certain things happen in a game. If you don't, bad things are going to happen. Hopefully we learn from [this past weekend]."

GAME SUMMARY

COULEE REGION 3 1 2 - 6

ALEXANDRIA 1 0 3 - 4

SHOTS - Coulee Region - 14, 11, 10 - 35; Alexandria - 14, 12, 16 - 42

SCORING SUMMARY - FIRST PERIOD - Coulee Region - Scott Bell (Jake Useldinger, Connor Gaarder), 0:15; Coulee Region - Chris Hughes (Berkley Scott, David Mylrea), 1:54; Coulee Region - Hughes (Zac Frischmon), 18:21; Alexandria - Thomas Williams (Brent Bain, Paul LaDue), 18:58

ADVERTISEMENT

SECOND PERIOD - Coulee Region - James Hughes (Tommy Miller), 16:58

THIRD PERIOD - Coulee Region - Gaarder (Frishmon), 1:05; Alexandria - Alex Altenbernd (Tyler Swanson, Michael Pieper), 8:14; Alexandria - Josh Gaughan (Nardo Nagtzaam, LaDue), 8:49; Alexandria - Steve Zierke (Pieper, Altenbernd), 18:03; Coulee Region - Micky Knox (empty net) (Chris Hughes), 19:48

PENALTIES - Coulee Region - 15 minutes on six infractions; Alexandria - 15 minutes on six infractions

GOALTENDING - Coulee Region - Paul Moberg - W, 38 saves, 42 shots faced; Alexandria - Jacob Meyers - 29 saves, 34 shots faced

COULEE REGION 4 1 1 - 6

ALEXANDRIA 0 2 1 - 3

SHOTS - Coulee Region - 13, 7, 8 - 28; Alexandria - 6 17 14 - 37

SCORING SUMMARY - FIRST PERIOD - Coulee Region - Tommy Miller (unassisted), 2:48; Coulee Region - Micky Knox (C. Hughes, Berkley Scott), 10:22; Coulee Region - Gaarder (PPG) (Scott Bell, Jake Useldinger), 15:28; Coulee Region - Matt Blomquist (PPG) (Berkley Scott, C. Hughes), 19:02

SECOND PERIOD - Alexandria - Steve Zierke (Bain, Pieper), 0:59; Alexandria - Gerald Owen (Mike Krieg, Jeff Bergh), 1:56; Coulee Region - Gaarder (PPG) (unassisted), 18:59

THIRD PERIOD - Alexandria - Krieg (Williams, Jordan Nelson), 10:17; Coulee Region - Frischmon (shorthanded) (empty net) (Knox), 18:33

PENALTIES - Coulee Region - 15 minutes on six infractions; Alexandria - 15 minutes on six infractions

GOALTENDING - Coulee Region - Aaron Davis - W, 34 saves, 37 shots faced; Alexandria - Jake Williams - 7 saves, 10 shots faced; Jacob Meyers - L, 15 saves, 17 shots faced

Related Topics: LAKERS
Eric Morken is a sports and outdoor editor at the Echo Press Newspaper in Alexandria, Minnesota, a property of the Forum News Service. Morken covers a variety of stories throughout the Douglas County area, as well as statewide outdoor issues.
What To Read Next
Douglas County area basketball, hockey, and wrestling for Friday, Feb. 3, 2023.
Alexandria scored the final three goals in the game to secure the win.
Douglas County area basketball, gymnastics, swim and dive, nordic skiing, hockey, and wrestling for Thursday, Feb. 2, 2023.
Douglas County area basketball, gymnastics, swimming and diving, hockey, and wrestling for Tuesday, Jan. 31, 2023.