A Royal sweep

Rogers in position to defend M-8 Boys Hockey crown after topping C-I

Greg Hunt

The Bluejacket boys’ attempt to move up in the Mississippi 8 hockey standings veered considerably after two rough home losses last week. Monticello-Annandale-Maple Lake caught Cambridge-Isanti for an 8-1 win Thursday night.

Then visiting Rogers solidified its hold on the top rung of the conference standings with a 6-1 victory at Isanti Saturday afternoon.

The Bluejackets get to recharge their batteries with the battle for the “Rusty Skates” traveling trophy at Princeton this Saturday evening.

“The boys have worked hard all year and I do not see that changing. Saturday’s game for the Rusty Skates will be fun, and it should not be to difficult to get the boys fired up for that game. Our seniors have never won the Rusty Skates game and this is their last chance, so hopefully they will be the ones to bring the skates back to CIHS,” said C-I Coach Chad Carlson.

Thursday night, the Moose took a 3-0 lead in the first period– scoring once on the power play and also shorthanded. They increased the edge to 4-0 early in the second before Brennan Osen got the Bluejackets on the board. The Moose then delivered three more power-play scores for a 7-1 advantage heading into second intermission as C-I took five straight penalties.

C-I junior Jordan Locken’s first-period scoring chance was just snuffed by Rogers’ netminder Keaton Mumm in the Jan. 28 M-8 battle.

• The Bluejackets picked up their play smartly in the matinee battle with Rogers on Saturday. In the team’s first meeting, the Jackets were badly outshot at Rogers back on Jan. 6. But the C-I boys came out with an 11-9 edge on shots. That advantage could have been much higher except for the Jackets’ sloppy misplaying of the puck on the handful of power play chances they had in the stanza.

The Jackets had another man-advantage for the first 1:20 of the second period. While controlling the puck well, they could not dent the scoreboard. Instead, it was Rogers steaming back with a 2-on-1 break and Neil Smith hammering home a short rebound for the 1-0 lead. Four minutes later, Rogers was fighting off another power play when Bryan Jungles came in all alone on C-I goalie Billy Winselman. Jungles’ shot hit hard off the crossbar, bounced straight down and across the line off the back of Winselman’s glove.

A couple minutes later, Rogers had a 5-on-3 advantage rolling, but C-I defenseman Ryan Epsen made two smart puck clears to deflate the pressure. Shortly after, fellow defenseman Zach Heuring’s full-out slide to stop a shot and Sam Renier’s tip-away of a point-blank shot kept it 2-0 at the second break.

Rogers’ even-strength goal made it a 3-0 cushion 3:34 into the third period. C-I kept pressure on the Royals net, however especially on a 5-on-3 when Brandon Ziebarth and Epsen let loose hard slap shots. Heuring and Ziebarth also ran a nice give-and-go that just missed clicking.

But Rogers’ Andrew Smith broke loose to come in all alone and scored up high for the 4-0 lead. The Jackets lost a lot of wind at that point, and the Royals stormed right back with another up-high goal 23 seconds later. C-I’s Josh Klingseisen broke up the shutout with 59 seconds to play by swatting the puck out of midair near the crease. The final shot count was 35-to-31 in favor of the Royals, with the Jackets going 0-for-10 on the power play.

“I thought this game was very close to the first meeting between the two teams. After two periods of the first game the score was 1-3; on Saturday the score was 0-2,” said Coach Carlson. “We had quite a few opportunities in the first two periods where if we would have been able to capitalize on one of those chances the game could have had a different story. Unfortunately we could not.”

M-8 Boys Hockey
Rogers 8-0, 12-6-1; Monticello-Ann. 4-2-1, 8-9-1; Cambridge-Isanti 3-3-1, 9-9-3; Buffalo 3-3-2, 3-13-2; Princeton 3-3-1, 6-11-1; St. Michael-Alb. 1-5-1, 8-8-3; Becker-B. Lake 0-6, 3-15.