Yellowjackets score early, often and cruise to win over Concordia
Yellowjackets 6, Concordia 1
Injuries have caused somewhat of a revolving door on the left wing of the line featuring Kyle Leahy (Fort St. John, British Columbia/North Peace Secondary) at center and Pat Dalbec (Superior, Wis./Superior Senior) on the right wing. Most recently, senior Tom Budziakowski (Toronto, Ontario/Bishop Allen Academy) has played with the tandem, and if Wednesday's performance is any indication, the trio could be together for a while. Leahy, Dalbec and Budziakowski kicked off the Yellowjacket scoring and combined for eight points as the Yellowjackets cruised to a 6-1 win over Concordia College on Wednesday evening at the Moorhead Sports Center.
The victory allows the Yellowjackets to avoid losing back-to-back games for the first time on the season.
Dalbec opened the scoring for the Yellowjackets just 3:11 into the game, taking a rink-wide pass and entered the zone on the right wing, using a toe drag and snapping a shot past Cobber goaltender Chris Neamonitis. Budziakowski and Leahy would assist. The Cobbers had a chance to tie it at 1-1, but Dan Hrabowych was denied at the right post by the left skate of Drew Strandberg (Thunder Bay, Ontario/Westgate CV&I). It was the toughest shot of the three that Strandberg saw in the opening period. At 15:41 of the period the lead would go to 2-0, as Leahy won the faceoff and Budziakowski tapped the puck toe Derek Stauber (Duluth, Minn./Marshall) at the left point. Stauber's wrist shot through traffic beat Neamonitis for his first goal of the season.
In the second period it was more of the same. Josh Kesler (Naperville, Ill./Northville) had the puck on the right wing and fed it ahead to T.J. Ahvenniemi (Thunder Bay, Ontario/St. Patrick) who got to the right circle and snapped a shot home for his first of the year just 3:32 in to make it 3-0. Stauber also earned an assist. Stauber would pick up his second goal and third point of the game just past the midpoint of the period, taking a cross-ice pass from Kevin Clark (San Dimas, Calif./San Dimas) and ripping a one-timer from the right circle past Neamonitis to make it 4-0. The power play goal, which came at 12:31, spelled the end of the night for Neamonitis, who was lifted after allowing four goals on 21 shots. His replacement, Kelly Andrew, didn't fair much better. The lead increased to 5-0 at 16:38 of the period. Chad Blanleil(Kelowna, British Columbia/Kelowna Secondary) had the puck behind the Cobber net and centered for Tanner Dion (Hardisty, Alberta/Central Sedgewick) who had his shot stopped, but Cody Hotchkin (Duluth, Minn./Denfeld) picked up the rebound, sliding it under Andrew for his second goal of the season.
The Cobbers finally broke through early in the third period. A breakdown by the Yellowjackets allowed the Cobbers to break in on a 2-on-1, and Jared Maetche tapped home the centering feed for his first of the season at 5:24, making it 5-1. The Yellowjackets had an answer, however, less than two minutes later. Budziakowski had the puck in the neutral zone and because of a defensive lapse, Leahy got behind the defense. Budziakowski hit him on the tap and Leahy was in alone. His shot was stopped, but Dalbec followed up the play and tapped home the rebound to make it 6-1 at 7:19.
Leahy and Budziakowski had three assists apiece, while Stauber had two goals and an assist. Dalbec had a pair of goals, giving him seven on the season, which leads the team. Dalbec also leads the team with 13 points.
Strandberg went largely untested in the game, finishing with 16 saves. He lowered his goals against average to 1.97 and raised his save percentage to .918. Strandberg's record now stands at 4-1-1 on the year. At the other end, Neamonitis made 17 saves before giving way to Andrew, who finished the game with five saves.
It was a cleanly played game, as there were only five penalties called, including none in the third period. The Yellowjackets took two penalties for four minutes, while the Cobbers took three for six minutes. The Yellowjackets were 1-2 on the power play, while the Cobbers went 0-1.
The Yellowjackets (5-2-1, 3-1-2 NCHA) are off until
Friday, December 3 when they play host to UW-River Falls at Wessman
Arena. Game time is 7:05 p.m. and can be heard live on 91.3 FM
KUWS, beginning with the pre-game show at 6:45 p.m. If you are
outside the local listening area you can listen on the web at
www.ifan.tv. The video stream of the game is available pay-per-view
through UW-Superior's men's hockey online partner, AmericaOne. Jon
Garver will have the call.