The Morris Benson Area boys' hockey team picked up a win in North Branch last Saturday, but when Northern Lakes came to town Tuesday, the Storm dropped the first game played this season at the Lee Community Center. With the win and loss, the Storm are now 5-4-1 on the season.
North Branch 4
The Storm won their fifth game of the season with a 5-4 road victory over North Branch Jan. 10.
Both teams came out slowly in the first period. It was the Storms' third line, consisting of center Ethan Ratliff-Crain and wings Tristan Michealson and Josh Taylor, that finally got a goal on the board. Ratliff-Crain scored unassisted with just 1:37 remaining in the opening frame. The line continued to play well the entire game as they applied pressure in the Vikings' end and consistently cleared the puck out of the Storm zone.
Storm goalie Will Johnson made 13 saves in the period, and the Vikings' goalie, Miller, made eight.
North Branch came out of the intermission skating at a much higher level and they stunned the Storm by scoring three goals in the first 3:58 of the period to take a 3-1 lead. The first goal came just 22 seconds into the period on the power play, and the second goal was scored just 10 seconds later.
The 3-1 deficit got the Storm motivated as Brady Valnes scored off of a Tyler Hansen assist at the 4:46 mark as they converted on a two-on-one situation. Then Mike Morales scored with an assist from Peter Lindblad to tie the score at 9:13. Later in the second period, Hansen gave the Storm the lead for good when he scored a power-play goal off of two passes, one from Lindblad and the other from Valnes.
Saves in the period were 14 for Johnson and 10 for Miller.
Lindblad scored an unassisted goal which would turn out to be the game winner at the 6:45 mark of the third period. The Storm worked to protect their two-goal lead, but gave up a goal with just 2:24 left in the game.
The Storm then had to hold off the hard charging Vikings in the final minute after North Branch pulled Miller for an extra attacker. Despite the Vikings getting a couple of good chances, the Storm held on for the 5-4 win.
Johnson made five saves in the final period for a total of 32 while Miller made seven for a total of 25.
Northern Lakes 4
The Northern Lakes Lightning defeated the Storm for the second time this year, winning by a score of 4-2 on Tuesday, at the Lee Community Center in Morris.
Lindblad got the Storm on the board first, scoring off of an assist from Ratliff-Crain at 9:48 of the first period and it turned out to be the only goal of the first period.
Johnson made 10 saves in the period and the Lightning's goalie, Trey Flesch, made five.
Northern Lakes capitalized on the only penalty that the Storm would take all night, scoring a power-play goal at 2:57 of the second period to tie the game at 1-1. The teams then took turns generating scoring chances for the rest of the evenly-played period, before the Lightning were able to get another goal with just 2:20 remaining to take a 2-1 lead into the break.
Saves for the period were eight for Johnson and 10 for Flesch.
Northern Lakes came out strong in the third period, scoring goals at the 7:32 and 8:15 marks to take a 4-1 lead.
Lindblad answered with an unassisted goal at 13:33 to trim the lead to 4-2, but the Storm could not draw any closer and the game ended with the two-goal deficit.
Johnson made seven more third-period saves for a game total of 25 and Flesch stopped five more Storm attempts for a game total of 20.