Boys hockey: Alexandria blows by Luverne to earn one more game at the state tournament
Alexandria used speed to its advantage in its 7-3 win over Luverne in the Class A consolation semifinals on Thursday and is now set to play in the Class A consolation bracket finals on Saturday.
MINNEAPOLIS - The Alexandria boys hockey team shook off a Wednesday 6-3 loss to the No. 3 seed Mahtomedi in the MSHSL Class A State Tournament quarterfinals with a nice team win, 4-1, over the Luverne Cardinals (21-8-1) on Thursday in the consolation semifinals.
“It’s great extending that weekend and getting to play on Saturday and get to stay with the boys for a few more days,” Alexandria junior Leo Kompelien said. “It puts the cherry on top of going to state.”
This is now the third time in a row, out of seven total appearances, that Alexandria has earned a Saturday game at the state tournament.
Alexandria made it to the Class A third-place game one season ago and lost 4-2 to Mahtomedi.
In Wednesday’s loss to Mahtomedi to open the state tournament, Alexandria (15-13-1) wasn’t pleased with how the puck battles went, but that was a different story in Thursday's game.
“I feel like all of us, for most of the game, were winning the puck battles,” Kompelien said. “We pounced on those puck battles, and we were really putting it all out there to earn one more game.”
Kompelien and senior forward Tyler Kludt helped pace the Alexandria attack, as both had two goals in the game.
Kludt and Kompelien have hit their stride in the first two games of the state tournament. These two each have scored in the state tournament thus far and are looking for more.
Kludt leads Alexandria in goals with 24 and overall points with 44.
Alexandria got on the board on Thursday first, with Kludt's first goal midway through the first period. This, along with shutting out Luverne in the first period, set the tone in the game.
“We just had to wear them out early,” senior goalie EJ Rasmussen said.
Alexandria took full control of the game by scoring three goals in the second, while Luverne had one. Kompelien scored twice in the second, while Kasen Muscha scored once for Alexandria.
“We just had to jump on them early,” Kompelien said. “We knew we were the faster team. Jumping on them early and shots on net early really helped us early on.”
Senior forward Nick Peterson got the puck out of a scrum in front of the Luverne net and scored midway through the third period to give Alexandria a 5-2 lead.
Luverne scored once more in the period, but Alexandria scored twice as shots by senior defender Mason Loch, and Kludt found the back of the net in the final frame.
“We just used our speed well on them,” Rasmusen said. “We got on top of them right away, and we tried to not let them breathe when they had the puck.”
This goal was Loch’s first of the season.
Rasmusen earned the win in net for the Cardinals of Alexandria with 20 saves.
Alexandria had a 40-23 shot on goal edge.
Thursday’s game marks the seventh game this season in which Alexandria scored five or more goals. Alexandria is 6-1 in those games, with that lone loss being an 8-5 defeat at the hands of Orono on Dec. 3, 2022.
Alexandria plays in the Class A Consolation Finals Game on Saturday at Noon back at 3M Arena at Mariucci in Minneapolis against the St. Cloud Cathedral Crusaders (17-13). Cathedral lost to Warroad 5-1 on Wednesday and beat Northfield 3-1 on Thursday.
Cathedral beat Alexandria, 5-1, in St. Cloud on Jan. 17.
“We’ll have a practice tomorrow, and it’ll be light,” Rasmusen said. “We’ll focus on resting and recovering.”
“We’ll watch the other state tournament games and just enjoy the best time of the year,” Kompelien said. “We’ll enjoy this atmosphere for a bit and hang out as a team for the last couple of days of the season.”