Tigers get claws back on ‘Rusty Skates’

OT game-winner lifts Princeton past Bluejackets

Greg Hunt

Princeton vs. Cambridge-Isanti boys hockey is a long-running rivalry which fuels energy-filled games with one quest: owning the “Rusty Skates” traveling trophy. The two teams battled it out again Feb. 2 in front of a packed house at the Isanti Arena, and junior Dan Muench’s goal 4:40 into overtime lifted the Tigers to a 3-2 victory over the Bluejackets.

C-I senior co-captain Sam Renier gave his team a 2-1 lead over Princeton in the second period with a sniper shot on the power play.

“We went with a play that’s been working all night– a jam play off the faceoff. Chase Lindenfelser tied his guy up perfectly,” Muench described the game-winner in OT. “The puck got bounced in the air off Jake Green’s helmet. I think I hit it down and then took it to the farside pipe, and it went in. It’s a big, big feeling to get back the ‘Rusty Skates.’ We’ve been talking about it forever, and now that we finally got it, it makes the year more special.”

Muench opened the scoring in the first period when he was left all alone in front of the C-I net and buried the shot. Just 19 seconds later, a Tiger grabbed the puck in the crease, giving C-I a rare penalty shot. Ryan Epsen made it count to lock the game up at 1-1.

The new 5:00 boarding call came into play in the second period when a Tiger was sent to the box early. The Bluejackets’ Sam Renier gave his team a 2-1 lead when he went up high with the power-play goal, ringing the cross bar. The Tigers’ held the rest of the time on the extended disadvantage, then a Bluejacket was hit with the new 5:00 check-to-the-head penalty to give Princeton a long power play which resulted in just a couple shots on the C-I net.

Senior Jarad Knutson kept the Jackets in the Feb. 2 "Rusty Skates" game when the Tigers held a huge shots-on-goal edge down the stretch.

In the third period, the Bluejackets held strong on a 5-on-3 followed by a 5-on-4 penalty kill, with goalie Jared Knutson (38 saves in game) playing tough. But with the teams even strength, Princeton’s Jake Green got control of the puck to the right of the goal, spun and wristed a high shot which tied the game at the 6:16 mark.

With just four minutes to play, the Tigers’ Jake Anderson rolled in an apparent goal on the short side, but after a long referee debate, it was determined the Jackets’ net was bumped off the post somewhat, and the goal was waved off.

Monticello-A-ML 3, Bluejackets 1

On Feb. 6, Monticello-Annandale-Maple Lake scored three goals in the second period to defeat the host Bluejackets in Mississippi 8 action. Peter Storlie’s power-play goal in the third period was C-I’s lone score. Knutson finished with 33 saves.

M-8 Boys Hockey

Rogers 6-0, 15-5-1; St. Michael-Alb. 3-1, 13-8; Buffalo 3-4, 6-13-1; Monticello-AML 1-4, 5-16-1; Cambridge-Isanti 1-5, 5-17.

Military Appreciation Night Feb. 11

All veterans with a valid active, guard/reserve, or retired military ID will be admitted free of charge the Feb. 11 C-I boys hockey game with St. Michael-Albertville at the Isanti Arena (7 p.m.).  Cake and coffee will be served at the 2nd Annual Military Appreciation Night.