Boys hockey: Manufacturing some momentum
The Farmington boys hockey team is hoping one game can create enough momentum to turn around a half-season worth of struggles.
After losing 13 of their 14 games dating back to the first of the year, the Tigers came out fired up and scored three quick first-period goals in Thursday's 4-2 victory over rival Northfield in the final game of the regular season at Schmitz-Maki Arena.
Despite the winning final note, the Tigers (9-15-2) earned a No. 6 seed in the Section 1AA Tournament and will face third-seeded Lakeville North (8-15-2) of the Lake Conference in tonight's opening round. The No. 5 seed went to Owatonna, which tied Farmington 2-2 in a mid-December game in Owatonna and finished with an 8-13-4 record while playing in the Big Nine Conference. The Huskies will travel east to play fourth-seeded Winona, a team they beat 4-1 on Feb. 4 to start a regular-season-ending stretch of four wins in five contests.
The Tigers don't have a stretch of successful games to build on. They will be trying to match the intensity they showcased during the opening eight minutes Thursday when they scored three goals and held Northfield scoreless.
Zachary Payne opened the scoring 3:25 in with assists coming from Matthew Thomas and Kevin Olund. Just over a minute later Daniel Handberg rebounded a Jake Sorensen shot to make it 2-0.
Devin Ingebrigtson closed out the first-period scoring with a goal on assist from Handberg and Tyler Grubb at 7:59.
The score stayed 3-0 until Northfield put a shot past sophomore goaltender Trevor Zangs for a short-hander 1:56 into the third. Any threat of a Raider rally was extinguished, however, when Thomas extended the lead back to three goals by winning a race to the puck and beating the Northfield goaltender for his first goal of the season at 11:19.
The Raiders scored another goal on a rebound in the final 30 seconds, but Zangs still finished with 21 saves and will get the nod in the section tournament.
Prior Lake 8,
Prior Lake ended its four-game losing streak and completed a season sweep of Farmington with an 8-1 home win Tuesday night at Dakotah Ice Center.
The Lakers scored six first-period goals against Michael Moser, who stopped 10 shots before being relieved by Zangs to start the second. Zangs stopped 19 shots while allowing two goals over the final two periods.
The Tigers finished with 23 shots on goal, but didn't score until Grubb's goal on an assist from Handberg 3:24 into the second.
"Kind of the story of the season. We do not convert on opportunities very well and it seems very easy for other teams to convert on us," coach Keith Revels said. "We did get outplayed in the first, but a six-goal differential is hard to swallow."