Boys hockey: Cardinals end the season proud of how far they came

At the end of the season, the Cardinals are holding their heads high after overcoming a rough start to finish the year as one of Class A’s best.

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Alexandria seniors Jack Breitzman (22) and EJ Rasmusen (1) touch gloves after the ending of the final game of the season on March 11, 2023, at 3M Arena at Mariucci. Alexandria started the season 1-9, but rallied to win the Section 6A title, win a game at the state tournament and finish the season 15-14-1.
Sam Stuve / Alexandria Echo Press

MINNEAPOLIS - Win or lose, the Alexandria boys hockey team wanted to leave it all out there on the ice in their final game of the season.

That's what they did in Saturday's MSHSL State Tournament consolation title game against the St. Cloud Cathedral Crusaders.

The game didn't bounce the Cardinals' way, as the Crusaders (18-13) won 4-1. However, the Cardinals are holding their heads high after a successful season.

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Alexandria's Leo Kompelien (3) advances the puck into the St. Cloud Cathedral defensive zone during the 2023 MSHSL State Tournament consolation game on March 11, 2023, at 3M Arena at Mariucci in Minneapolis.
Sam Stuve / Alexandria Echo Press

"It was great to finish at the state tournament; it's all we could've ever wanted," Alexandria senior forward Nick Peterson said. "Everyone wants to play in as many games in a season as you can."

"Being here is something that you dream about as a little kid," Alexandria senior forward Jack Breitzman said. "So to have it all end here is good."


It was hard for some people in mid-January to imagine the Cardinals winning a game at the state tournament and playing a game at the state tournament.

But with self confidence and good team play, the Cardinals overcame a 1-9 start to the season to win the Section 6A title, win a game at the state tournament (7-3 over Luverne on Thursday, March 9) and finish the season with a 15-14-1 record.

"Everyone thought we weren't going to make it," Peterson said. "We started off really rough, and we kind of started off the season as underdogs. We started off really rough, but we came back."

Alexandria head coach Josh Meyers is proud of the team's effort and resilience.

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Alexandria senior Tyler Kludt (7) skates around a pair of St. Cloud Cathedral players during the Class A State Tournament consolation game in Minneapolis at 3M Arena at Mariucci on March 11, 2023.
Sam Stuve / Alexandria Echo Press

"What we battled through all season long to get what we accomplished here towards the end has been tremendous," Meyers said. "These guys will learn a huge life lesson about themselves through the process, which is, ultimately, kind of what we play hockey for. Not everyone's going to be able to play after high school, so it's kind of what you take from those moments in high school that make you a better person, really."

Alexandria began Saturday's game at 3M Arena at Mariucci with a goal by Peterson in the first period.

The Crusaders scored once at the end of the first, once in the second, and twice towards the end of the third period to seal the win.

"We didn't have our best game," Meyers said. "Our passing was a little sloppy and wasn't as good as it was on Thursday, but we still gave ourselves a chance to win. I think it was just an emotional game, knowing that it's going to end for us regardless of what happens."


Cathedral held a 26-23 shot on goal advantage in the game.

Throughout this season, the Cardinals grew closer together, specifically on a weekend in Roseau in late December.

"We got our first win there, and that's when we really started bonding together," Peterson said. "We changed everything up that next practice, and everything started to click."

It was after that 4-2 win over Mankato East/Loyola on Dec. 29, 2022, that Alexandria started to get going.

And starting with a 6-3 win over Brainerd on Jan. 10, 2022, the Cardinals won 14 out of their final 20 games, finished second in the Central Lakes Conference, won the Section 6A title, and finished as one of the top six teams in Class A.

"We started playing for each other, and we started building some chemistry, whether that's just in the locker room as a group of 20 guys or different combinations," Meyers said. "We started to get to know each other on a personal level. And when you care about someone, you're going to play harder for them. That's what we got to see."

Breitzman and Peterson said their favorite part of playing for the Alexandria program was the friendships they developed and the family-like feel in the program.

Breitzman, Peterson, Joe Lamski, EJ Rasmusen, Keegan Lucy, Mason Loch, Tyler Kludt, Matthew Hornstein, Henry Ramstorf and Zaven Noetzelmann are the seniors in the Alexandria program.


This group is a resilient bunch that has made big contributions to the program.

They worked through the challenges and intricacies presented because of the COVID-19 pandemic during their underclassmen years but worked through them to end each of their last two seasons on the final day of the state tournament.

"What this senior class has done for our high school program is tremendous," Meyers said. "As an alumni, I'm just proud to see what they've done. They've taken it to a whole new level, and they deserve the credit for that. I told them when they were sophomores that they were a special group and that they were going to do great things for our high school program. And it came true over the years that we got to see them."

Sam Stuve covers a variety of sports in the Douglas County area. He also is assigned to do some news stories as well.
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