PREP BOYS HOCKEY: Cardinals top Tigers 4-1 in battle of conference giants
MARSHALL – It was a battle of conference giants on Friday night at the Red Baron Arena and Expo, as the Marshall boys hockey team and Luverne each entered the game with identical 17-5 records.
The Tigers were looking to close out their regular season home schedule with a key conference victory, while the Cardinals looked to net another win over Marshall after beating the Tigers earlier in the season.
Unfortunately, for the Tigers they couldn’t generate enough offense in what turned out to be a physical game as Marshall fell to Luverne 4-1.
It was a big battle both physically and mentally for the Tigers but coach Michael Weiss saw the boys stepping up and doing their job to fight through the entirety of the game.
“Luverne is one of the best teams in the section and we had to battle every shift we were out there. I thought we did a good job with that, and we had a few guys go down but other guys were there to step up and take their spot,” said Weiss. “It’s always tough playing these top teams and we have to take it shift by shift and do the best that we can when we’re out there.”
The Tigers showed early signs of strong offense, taking good shot opportunities whenever they got their chance but couldn’t make the connection with the back of the net. Luverne mirrored that same strength on their offensive possessions, and were the first one to find the back of the net with 5:06 left to play in the first to take the lead at 1-0. Luverne’s strengths on offense gave itself the advantage for the remainder of the period, which led to another goal with 3:19 left on the clock and the Cardinals went into the second period with a 2-0 lead.
Luverne started off with a setback, sending one of its players in a five-minute penalty which gave the Tigers a power play opportunity, but they were unable to capitalize on the advantage. Luverne came off of the penalty with strengths that the Tigers couldn’t keep up with, which led to another Cardinal goal to extend their lead to 3-0 with 6:14 left in the second period. Garret Hoff was the spark that the Tigers needed to get themselves back into the game, with a goal on the assist from Joe Archbold, to get Marshall on the board, but the Tigers continued to trail the Cardinals at 3-1 with 3:18 left to play. The Tigers held the Cardinals off from scoring another goal for the remainder of the second and took a two-goal deficit heading into the final period.
The third period was a hard-fought 17 minutes for the Tigers, with the Cardinals finding the back of the net early on into the frame to extend their lead even more to 4-1 with 15 minutes remaining. Marshall had plenty of time to regroup and find opportunities to score, but with a few unfortunate calls, they couldn’t move the puck on the offensive end as well as it was hoping to which led the Cardinals to a second straight victory over the Tigers this season.
Luverne outshot Marshall 28-22 on the game. Dominik Caspers earned 24 saves total.
The Tigers will be on the road for their last regular season game on Thursday against the Morris/Benson Area Storm.
Getting closer to the section tournament Weiss has some goals that he wants his team to achieve while keeping themselves playing the way they know how to play.
“We’ve got to keep fighting every game, and they need to know that nothing is free they have to earn everything that they are going to get,” said Weiss. “We want to get to Gustavus and hopefully get the chance to play for a spot at the state tournament.”