An estimated 2,000 loud and energetic fans were on hand for the Minnesota Owls’ home opener Saturday night, Sept. 17. The Owls did not disappoint as they worked for a 4-2 win over the new MNJHL squad Dells Ducks.
Tailgating, live music and a video intro in the darkened Isanti County David C. Johnson Civic Arena led up to the puck drop. Then the physical and fast-paced hockey took center stage. The Owls, including Isanti-native Jerid Adamson at defense, killed off the first power play by not allowing a shot from the Ducks, then the Owls applied good pressure during their first man-advantage.
Dallas Tucker broke the ice with a wrist shot into the left corner at the 11:47 mark of the first period. Robert Erickson of Coon Rapids delivered a highlight-reel shorthanded goal early in the second period, and the Owls went up 3-0 early in the third on a Kyle Johnson goal. The Ducks made a game of it by scoring the next two goals, but Jess “Bubba” Engquist’s empty-netter at 19:56 sealed the victory. Brad Jerzewski made several key saves in the Minnesota net for his second victory of the weekend.
The Owls opened the season the prior night with a 5-4 win at Maple Grove when Erickson scored an unassisted goal 1:05 into overtime. Goals by Johnson and Blake Jorenby tied the game at 2-2 in the second period. The Energy snapped off two quick goals to start the third stanza, but Engquist and Kyler Ackewance answered with netted shots to force OT.
On Sunday, Dells got revenge on the Owls with a 5-1 victory back in Isanti. Erickson continued his hot weekend with a tying goal in the first period. The Ducks then shot home three goals in the second, including a power-play goal with five seconds left in the period.
Next up: The Owls, tied for 1st with 4 points in the MNJHL, have a home-and-away series with rival Rochester Ice Hawks (7:30 p.m. Friday in Isanti/7:05 p.m. Saturday in Rochester). The Owls then travel to the Edina Lakers Sunday, Sept. 25 (5 p.m.).