Boys hockey: Cardinals push by Wadena-Deer Creek to get to Section 6A title game
Early goals helped Alexandria, the defending Section 6A champions, down Wadena-Deer Creek in the section semifinals. On Thursday, Alexandria once again meets Fergus Falls in the section title game.
ST. CLOUD - The Alexandria boys hockey team had a week between its opening round playoff game on Feb. 21 against the No. 8 seed Breckenridge-Wahpeton and its Section 6A semifinal game against the No. 4 seed Wadena-Deer Creek on Tuesday, but picked up right where they left off.
Alexandria (13-12-1), the No. 1 seed in the section, followed up its 14-goal outing against Breckenridge-Wahpeton; Alexandria got going offensively in a 7-2 win and is headed back to the section championship game.
"We were just moving the puck well, getting the puck forward to net and scoring," Senior forward Joe Lamski said.
On Tuesday, Alexandria's offense was consistent throughout, as it scored at least two goals in each period.
It took Alexandria just two and a half minutes to score as Lamski scored the first of his two goals on the night.
"He got two breakaways and scored on both of them," Alexandria head coach Josh Meyers said. "He did a lot of other things really well too. He read those situations really well and got really good looks on those breakaways. He made them pay, and that's awesome to see a senior do."
With a first period goal by junior Evan Lunde, W-DC (15-10-2) knotted up the game at one and had some momentum with 8:42 left in the first period.
But starting with a goal by senior Tyler Kludt 72 seconds later, Alexandria created the momentum and rhythm needed to earn a 7-2 win.
Shortly after Kludt's go-ahead goal, junior forward Evan Anderson scored to put Alexandria up 3-1 at the end of the first period, and a pair of Nick Peterson goals put Alexandria up 5-1 heading to the final period.
"It was huge to get that 3-1 lead," Meyers said. "We started a little sloppy. You could tell that we were off for a week, which is to be expected, and I don't anticipate seeing that same sloppiness on Thursday now that we got a game under our belt. But regardless, we got the after the first period, which was goal number one, and it was a job well done."
The Wolverines cut into the Cardinals' lead with a goal by senior defenseman Dalton Moyer early in the third.
But Alexandria goals by Lamski and junior forward Leo Kompelien iced the game.
"Our season was a lot of fun," Wadena-Deer Creek head coach Scott Woods said. "This group worked hard; we've kept them together since the time they were very little. We have 10 seniors, so it's something we've waited for and tried to build on. We've been in games like this where we give up more than we want to, but that's part of the game. That comes from the team, and unfortunately, we gave up too many goals."
Peterson leads the team in goals with 18, while Kludt has 17, and Kompelien has 14.
Alexandria is back in St. Cloud at the Municipal Athletic Complex for the Section 6A Championship game on Thursday at 7 p.m. against the No. 2 seed Fergus Falls (14-10-2).
On Tuesday, Fergus Falls trailed 2-1 heading into the final period of its game against the No. 3 seed Northern Lakes (12-14), but Fergus Falls scored three goals in the final frame to advance to the section championship game.
The Cardinals are the defending section champions and are hungry for another title.
"We played a team game then, and we're trying to do the same thing," Lamski said. "We just need to be better in our D zone and keep the puck down. We're rolling right now, and it's been a lot of fun."
Since Jan. 10, 2023, Alexandria has gone 12-3-1. Two of those 12 wins came against Fergus Falls. Alexandria beat Fergus Falls 4-0 at home on Jan. 10 and 4-1 on the road on Feb. 9.
Kludt and senior defense Jack Lamski had two assists for Alexandria in Tuesday's semifinal, while Peterson and senior Henry Ramstorf each had one assist.
Kludt leads the team in assists with 22 and total points with 39. Joe Lamski is second on the team in assists with 18, while Jack Lamski is third with 17.
"We did a good job of taking care of the puck, for the most part," Meyers said. "We got the puck deep, used our team speed well, and got pressure on their defensemen. We put them back in their defensive zone a lot."
Senior MJ Lunde had one assist for the Wolverines on Tuesday.
Alexandria finished Tuesday's game with a 38-20 shot on goal advantage.
Senior EJ Rasmusen earned the win in net for the Cardinals and made 18 saves.
"I told him before the game, over the last second half of the season or so, he's had about 0.920 save percentage, and it's been awesome," Meyers said. "We're really happy about that."
In the last 12 out of 13 games, Rasmusen and the Cardinal defense have held their opponents to two goals or less.
Rasmusen is 11-8 in net this season and has a 3.04 goals against average.
The Section 6A title game winner punches their ticket to play in the MSHSL Class A State Tournament starting on Wednesday, March 8, 2023.
"We have to tidy up our mistakes and turnovers a bit," Meyers said. "I thought there were some times where we could have gotten the puck deep instead of trying to make one or two extra moves at the offensive blue line. We just have to keep going and keep pushing."
Alexandria and Fergus Falls have played each other in each of the last three seasons. Alexandria beat Fergus Falls 4-2 in last season's section title game, but Fergus Falls beat Alexandria 3-0 in a section semifinal game in 2021.