Early section boys' hockey action, Andover, Legacy romp

by Jason Olson
Sports Editor

Boys’ Hockey
Section 7AA
Andover 10,  St. Michael-Albertville 1
By the looks of the final score, No. 2 seed Andover looked anything but slow at the start, but thanks to a six-goal third period the Huskies (17-6-2) defended its home ice well against the No. 7 seeded St. Michael-Albertville squad Tuesday night.

“Some of that could be attributed to playoff jitters and as it moved on more and more they relaxed and got back to a simpler game,” Andover coach Mark Manney said as his team generated 51 shots. “Our seniors started playing good and they calmed everyone down.”

While the Andover offense shined once again, Tyler Jokinen had four points (two goals) while Nick Manney (two assists) and Christian Mohs (two goals) each added three-point games. Four players picked up two assists and eight players had multiple-point games. Senior Jake Harmon also picked up his first varsity goal in his final home game.

What appears to be an issue for Andover is its ability to take the puck back in its own end. “We’re not disciplined enough in front of our net to give them one chance and get the puck out. We’re allowing far too many rebounds,” Manney said.

As a result Andover might have to play without its stand-out goalie, sophomore Chase Perry who had to leave the game early in the third period after injuring his knee while scrambling to make a save on a rebound shot in traffic.

Manney said he didn’t know if Perry would be able to play in the quarterfinals against Forest Lake in Duluth Feb. 25. “We don’t know the long-term prognosis. He’s going to try to practice Friday and reevaluate again for Saturday.

Andover goalie Chris Hamling made three saves in 13:32. He shutout North Metro earlier this season in his only previous action this season. “We have confidence in him too,” Manney said.

The Huskies went 10 games without a loss (8-0-2) before losing the season series to Blaine 5-4, after leading 4-1 at one point Feb. 11. The Huskies settled for a 5-5 tie against Centennial in the previous game after leading 5-3 at one point. Andover regained its form to down Coon Rapids 7-2 and Champlin Park 5-1 to close out the Northwest Suburban Conference and regular season schedule.

“Even though we played well for 35 minutes, we couldn’t finish it out against Blaine and Centennial,” Manney said. “But we got after both [Coon Rapids and Champlin Park] and played good, solid hockey, not the best, but nothing comes out great from a loss or a tie and having gone six games without losing, it was nice to bring them back to reality.” [smooth=id:531]

St. Francis
The Fighting Saints upset No. 8 seed Cambridge-Isanti 12-3 in the play-in game in Cambridge Feb. 18 which set up a meeting with top-ranked and No. 1 seed Duluth East Feb. 21. The Greyhounds pulled out a 7-0 win over the Fighting Saints to end its season.

St. Francis (8-16) scored five times in first period and five more goals in the second period to lead 10-2 after two periods of play at Isanti Ice Arena Feb. 18.

The Saints had its offense on fire that night as they out shot the Bluejackets 53-34 and converted on 5-of-8 power play chances. Olli-Pekka Virtanen led the Saints with a five-point game (four assists) and Ryan Mohar added four assists in the win. Kyle Wagner and Brett Aldrich each had two goals and Wagner added an assist. Goalie Darion Hanson made 31 saves in the win.

Fast forward to the first round of action and Duluth East started strong and didn’t let up as St. Francis was out shot 41-9 in the game. The Greyhounds led 3-0 by the 5:29 mark of the first period. St. Francis was limited to three shots in the second period and two shots in the third period. Hanson made 34 saves in the loss.

Section 5A
Legacy 4, North Branch 0
The No. 7 seed Lions opened sections with its third shutout of the season and second over the Vikings in less than two weeks.

Tuesday’s win was Legacy’s first home section game and coach Steve Larson said the team’s goal is to finish with a record above .500. They’re 13-10-3 heading into its Feb. 23 game against No. 2 seed Rogers.

This time Gordy Vitek scored twice in addition to as goals by Tyler Arenz and Lucas Stauffeneker for the Lions.

Lions goalie Nick Stolarczyk posted 19 saves for the shutout while Legacy out shot the Vikings 31-19 to win to go 5-2-0 over its last seven games.

“The guys just came out and played like they’re suppose to,” Larson said. “ We did a nice job to keep North Branch bottled up and we had a really solid performance, nothing lights-out and it was exactly what we needed to do.” [smooth=id:530]

Section 4A
Sibley 2, Spring Lake Park 0
For the third time this season the Panthers succombed to a shutout, this time in the Section 4A quarterfinals at Aldrich Arena in Maplewood.
Jake Matthys finished the season with a team-high 35 points and 24 goals while Patrick Graves had 32 points (18 assists). Senior goalie Brandon Jones finished the season with a 4.04 goals against average and .885 saves percentage.