by Samantha Lefebvre
Benilde-St. Margaret (15-5-0) remains undefeated in the North Suburban Conference after the match up against Spring Lake Park (6-14-1) Feb. 4 at Fogerty Arena.
The third period saw running time as the Red Knights skated with ease to a 15-0 victory.
“They were just so much quicker than we were and stronger on the puck,” Spring Lake Park coach Tom Benson said. “Their hands are so much stronger. We just didn’t have the stick skills to keep up with them. They moved the puck quicker than we could move and we had a hard time defending that.”
The Panthers started out controlling the puck in the first few minutes of the first period, but after Benilde scored its first goal at the 15:06-minute mark the Red Knights had control of the game from that moment on. The Red Knights scored seven goals in the first period against senior goalie Brandon Jones. At the end of the first half, Benilde had more goals than the Panthers had shots on goal, 6-30.
The second period was just as strong for the Red Knights as the team scored a goal within the first two minutes of play.
Down two players due to cross-checking penalties halfway through the period, Spring Lake Park gave Benilde yet another opportunity to score. And it did just that.
Six more goals were added to Benilde’s total by the end of the second period, putting the score at 13-0.
The third period hit running time right from the start. It went by fast and Benilde was able to hold Spring Lake Park at zero, while adding two more goals of its own. The Red Knights walked of the ice with a double digit shut-out, 15-0.
“Games like this, to be very candid, they aren’t good for anyone,” Benilde-St. Maragret coach Ken Pauly said. “It’s not good for us and it’s not good for them. Kids are frustrated, but the good news for us is that a lot of guys who normally don’t get to play a lot got to play a ton tonight. But I think both programs made the best out of a bad situation tonight.”
Despite letting 15 goals slip in, Jones had 49 saves.
Benilde junior Grant Besse led the game in goals putting four pucks in the net, completing a hat trick in the first period alone. Junior T.J. Moore led the game with five assists and also had a goal of his own in the second period.
The Red Knights had seven power play opportunities during the game, including one double penalty power play, and scored four total goals off of the one man advantage.
The Panthers had only 13 shots on goal compared with the Red Knights’ 64, putting Benilde with two more goals than Spring Lake Park had shots on goal.
Spring Lake Park is in a rebuilding year after losing large numbers of upperclassmen the past two years. Last year when the two teams met the Panthers pounced on the Red Knights and won 2-1. This year, however, has been a much different story.
Although the loss was devastating for the Panthers, Benson said the team has to put it behind them and focus on the four remaining regular season games and “gear up” for the playoffs.
“We just have to take one game at a time,” Benson said. “We are going to have a tough road in playoffs, but we are better than what we showed tonight. We let this game slip by us a little bit. We’ll be ready. We’ll have better days.”