by Jason Olson
Andover’s Jared McComber scored 12:21 into the third period as the Huskies earned a crucial Northwest Suburban Conference win over Elk River 2-1 to close out January with a red-hot 6-1-1 record Jan. 31.
The recent streak positioned the Huskies one point back of Blaine for second place in the conference.
Andover sophomore goalie Chase Perry did his best to preserve the win as the Elks nearly doubled the shots total 48-28.
Perry’s emerged as one of the premier goalies in the state and over the last seven games he’s 6-0-1 wtih a 1.28 goals against average and one shutout. The team is 6-1-1 in January with the lone loss coming from a 7-6 barnburner against rival Blaine Jan. 5.
“Over the last three-four games [Perry] starting to get into the players heads and they’re just throwing anything at him from any angle,” Huskies coach Mark Manney said about his stand-out goalie. “He’s tracking the puck well and I think other teams are trying to catch him off guard hoping he kicks them a juicy rebound.”
As much as Manney appreciates the effort and performance of Perry, he hopes the defense will shore up problems over the final three weeks of the regular season.
“We just can’t afford to give up the number of shots, whether they’re good or bad shots, it gets into the pysche that we have Chase back there,” Manney said. “We want to limit those opportunities and that’s our focus during practice over the last three weeks.”
Andover took the innitial lead 3:37 into the middle period on a goal by Tyler Tomberlin who took a hooking penalty less than a minute later.
Elk River translated the infraction into a goal about one minute into the power play to make it 1-1 until the middle portion of the final period.
Andover swept the season series from the Elks after losing the previous six straight meetings before this season.
The Huskies scored four times in the third period enroute to a 7-2 Northwest Suburban Conference win over Osseo Jan. 28. Andover out shot Osseo 45-28 as Nick Manney had two assists and one goal and Brady Barthold added two assists in the final period.
Barthold also scored in the second period.
Manney finished with a team-high plus-4 rating while Tyler Jokinen, Vold Barthold and Brit Brothen each had and a plus-3 rating.
Now is the time any hockey team wants to start to put together wins and Andover is poised to be in conversation for the conference’s top team.
“We lost five times earlier in the season, four by one goal and that was due to a lot of inexperience,” Manney said. The level of learning and maturity the team went through this season appears in the number of ways Andover builds leads and holds on to them.
Manney noticed his players starting to rely a little more on Perry to make that spectacular save. “I think we’re starting to cheat a little bit,” he said, which means his players are jumping into offensive plays quicker while neglecting defensive duties. “We’re starting to get a little lazy in defensive responsibilities which is ok sometimes when the bounces aren’t going our way.”
Anoka destroyed North Metro 9-0 enroute to its third straight win Jan. 28.
During the stretch the Tornadoes topped Elk River (4-2, Jan. 21) and Osseo (5-2, Jan. 26) before its second shutout of the season.
Saturday’s Northwest Suburban Conference win included three goals in the first period and four more goals in the second period as they out shot the Stars 42-18.
Anoka scored four special teams goals as they went 3-for-3 on the power play. Anders Skaalerud scored a short hander with six seconds left in the first period. He finished with four points (three assists) as Cale Grinde scored twice. Ben Sjodin and Chase West each picked up three points (two assists) as Robbie Goor posted 18 saves for the shutout.
The Bengals losing skid reached three games after falling to Northwest Suburban Conference leader Maple Grove 4-2 Jan. 26 and Elk River 3-2 Jan. 28. The streak began with a 5-4 upset at Fogerty by Champlin Park.
Thursday’s highly-anticipated match-up against Maple Grove fizzled for the Bengals who trailed 2-1 after the first period as the Crimson took the lead with nine seconds left.
They tied the game with a shorthander four minutes after Dylan Lambert gave Blaine a 1-0 lead.
The Crimson made it 3-1 with the lone goal of the second period by way of a power play.
Blaine’s Ian Scheid made it 4-2 with a power play goal late but it wasn’t enough as goalie Nick Malvin made 34 saves in the loss.
Saturday’s contest was different as the Elks took a 2-0 lead less than nine minutes into the contest and Blaine couldn’t react fast enough.
Blaine’s Tyler Cline made it 2-1 in the final minute of the first period. Elk River took a 3-1 lead at the 4:35 mark of the second period and Blaine’s Joey Lau scored at 10:40 to pull within one goal, 3-2.
That was as close as the Bengals could reach as Elk River out shot the Bengals 47-35.
Centennial picked up a 6-2 win over the Cardinals at the Centennial Sports Arena in Circle Pines Jan. 28.
The Northwest Suburban Conference contest was even at 2-2 heading into the third period. The Cougars out shot Coon Rapids 16-5 over the final period and scored four times for the win.
Coon Rapids’ Dillon Ridge scoed 39 seconds into the second period to give the visitors a 2-1 lead but that was shortlived as Centennials’ Adam Anderson scored at the 8:58 mark.
Cougars Adam Lovick scored twice on the power play and Nick Larsen pounded home the other two goals in the third period as Cardinals goalie Austin Berg made 34 saves in the rare start.
Spring Lake Park
The Panthers posted a 4-1 win over North Suburban Conference rival Irondale Jan. 28. All Spring Lake Park goals came on power plays as they went 4-for-7 withe man advantage. Patrick Graves led the output with three points (two assists) while Jacob Nystrom (one goal), Derek Heid (two assists) each had two points. Goalie Brandon Jones posted 20 saves for the win.
The table was flipped on the Panthers as they came up short in a 4-1 loss to Mahtomedi at Fogerty Arena Jan. 31 after giving up two third period goals. Jones made 33 saves in the loss.
Graves scored 17 seconds into the contest with assists from Jake Matthys and Nick Auman for the lone Panthers goal. The home team also went 0-for-9 on the power play as the Zephyrs compiled 36 penalty minutes.
Cloquet/Esko/Carlton doubled-up St. Francis in a 6-3 non-conference game at East Bethel Jan. 28.
Zach Foesch picked up two assists while Cameron Kaehler and Tate Blankenship scored in the first period and Kyle Wagner scored a second period goal on the power play. The Lumberjacks outshot St. Francis 39-30 as Saints goalie Darion Hanson made 33 saves.