Penalty proves costly as Knights hockey splits pair on road

By Rob LaPlante

Crow River News Sports

St. Michael-Albertville forward David Anderson and his teammates played 51 minutes of tough physical hockey that led to two goals and one assist for the senior in a 6-0 win Jan. 8 at Waconia.

Then, there was five minutes of hockey – in a 6-2 loss Jan. 10 at St. Francis, both Anderson and the Knights would like to forget.

With STMA leading 1-0 late in period one, Anderson was called for a 5-minute major for checking from behind. The penalty didn’t warrant an ejection, but a 10-minute misconduct penalty was added and more importantly, it cost the Knights four power-play goals and a 4-1 deficit after the first period.

“We’ve told David as coaches that we want him to step up his physical play,” said STMA head coach Jerr Johnson. “It’s kind of a catch-22. It wasn’t intentional, but he checked his guy from behind into the boards. Under the new rules, that’s an automatic major.”

St. Francis’ Zach Foesch scored two goals and assisted on another during the major penalty. It erased a 1-0 STMA lead, after junior Connor Spetz opened the scoring at the 3:41 mark.

“It’s disappointing, because you’re playing well and leading a good team 1-0 on the road,” Johnson said. “Then you look up at the scoreboard and in the last 4:40 of the first period, you’re suddenly trailing 4-1.”

Senior Nate Fischbach scored a third-period goal to cut the deficit, but Foesch added his third and fourth goals of the game to ice the win for the Fighting Saints.

The loss came on the heels of arguably the best game of the season for the Knights. A 6-0 shutout win last Tuesday at Waconia was highlighted by senior goalie Matt Borgen, who stopped 28 shots recording his first career varsity shutout.

“The team made it pretty easy for me,” said Borgen, who kept the puck to remember his milestone. “They did a great job of killing penalties and getting to six goals was a big help.”

Sophomore Tyler Hayes opened the scoring in the first period with an assist from Anderson and senior Jon Gibbs. Hayes, who would leave the game against St. Francis due to a mild concussion, is listed as day-to-day.

The Knights extended the lead to 4-0 with three second-period goals from Anderson, Fischbach and junior Brett Marshall. Marshall and Anderson would each score a pair of power-play goals in period three making the lead 6-0.

“Brett had been struggling a bit of late and it seemed that game he got his legs back,” Johnson said. “David played a great game and he was physical and making plays.”

Borgen said it was a game he and his teammates will not forget. “I think it was memorable, because we can keep coming back to it saying we beat a pretty good team by six goals.”

The Knights (5-8-1 overall as of Monday) hosted East Ridge on Tuesday. Thursday night at 7 p.m. they travel to Cambridge-Isanti. The Knights beat the Bluejackets 4-3 in overtime earlier this season. Saturday night at 7 p.m. they are at Buffalo.

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