Thanksgiving week yielded big wins for four area teams including Andover, Anoka, Blaine and Spring Lake Park.
The first week of December gave everyone a strong early-season test.
Minnetonka scored three times less than 9:34 into the second period to earn a 3-2 season-opening win over Anoka at the Pagel Activity Center Nov. 26.
Anoka’s Michael Talbot and Ryan Steetar set up Cody Pinewski’s power play goal at the 14:26 mark of a busy second period.
Pinewski added a second goal midway through the third period with the assist going to Jordan Peterson.
Anoka goalie Robbie Goor had 24 saves.
Blaine’s biannual road trip to Roseau to open the season started well in the form of an 8-4 win Nov. 29.
The Bengals broke 3-3 tie after two periods with a five-goal third period.
Tyler Cline collected a hat trick with three goals and 10 different players picked up points.
Joey Lau had two goals, Luke Notermann had one goal and one assist. Alex Copa and Brandon Notermann had two assists each.
Ketola had 31 saves, while the Rams netminder Ryan Anderson turned away 45 of 53 shots.
The Bengals added a second win the next day by a 6-4 score against Moorhead.
Blaine skated to a 3-1 lead in the first period on goals from Cline, Notermann and Lau. The threesome finished with 12 points in the game. Cline and Lau each picked up four points, including Cline’s three goals and Lau’s three assists. Notermann had one goal and assist.
Ketola made 21 saves to grab his second win.
The teams combined for 79 penalty minutes with 16 infractions from the Bengals for 59 minutes. The Spuds converted on three-of-12 power plays compared with Blaine’s two-for-nine.
Blaine’s Jordan Turnquist was ejected from the game after a checking from behind major at the 3:57 mark of the second period. Moorhead only scored once in the five minute five-on-four power play chance.
Tensions rose again about 3:30 into the power play that resulted in a 10-minute game misconduct penalty against Lau and a double minor slashing penalty for Cline. Lau took an unsportsmanlike conduct minor 28 seconds later for an off-the-ice incident.
Buffalo scored twice in the first and second periods to spoil the Cardinals’ season opener 4-0 in Coon Rapids, Nov. 30.
The Bison scored two goals less than four minutes into each of the first two periods in what proved to be the difference. Only one goal came on the power play out of seven chances, while Coon Rapids went zero-for-two on its chances.
Coon Rapids goalie Zack St. John made 33 saves, but the Cardinals struggled to generate chances and were outshot 37-15.
Legacy opened with a tough 6-1 loss at Robbinsdale Armstrong Nov. 26.
The Falcons scored five times under the 9:09 mark of the second period and the lone Lions goal came from Jacob Stauffeneker with assists from Tyler Arenz and Jordan Sutherland.
Legacy goalie Tanner Balk had 40 saves.
Spring Lake Park
Spring Lake Park opened the season with a 6-5 win at fellow Class A program Proctor Nov. 30.
Panthers junior Jacob Nystrom collected four goals and Pete Sienko had two goals and one assist. Austin Long and David Taylor each had two assists. Spring Lake Park peppered the Rails net for a 37-14 shots advantage. Panthers goalie JT Hirschi made nine saves for the win.
Forest Lake spoiled the Saints opener with an 8-2 win in East Bethel, Nov. 26.
The Rangers scored four times in the middle period and another three times in the final period and outshot St. Francis 32-18.
Saints took the lead 5:22 into the contest on a goal by Lucas Carroll. Jordan Adler and Kyle Wagner assisted.
Ben Falk made it 3-2 at the 11:55 mark of the second period for the Saints and goalie Judd Bruner made 24 saves.
Four days later, St. Francis ventured to Roseau for an early-season road trip. The Rams rebounded from an 8-4 loss to Blaine one day earlier with a 9-0 win over St. Francis, Nov. 30.
Roseau outshot the Saints 41-23 and Rams Alex Strand scored four times and Zach Yon collected five points (three assists).
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