By Bruce Strand
Branden Cecil delivered four points, including the game-winning goal, as the Rogers Royals clinched an outright conference championship with a 5-4 win over the Princeton Tigers at home Saturday.
The Royals finished 11-1 in the Mississippi 8. Buffalo and Chisago Lakes each had three losses.
They will take an 18-6-1 record into the Section 5AA tournament starting next Saturday. Pairings are not available at this posting.
Cecil gave the Royals the lead twice in the third period. The junior forward scored at 3:22 for a 4-3 lead, and after Princeton’s Jack Carlson tied it with a power play goal at 9:59, Cecil struck again at 15:07. This time the Royals held the lead in the final 1:53.
Also scoring for Rogers were Travis Brown (power play), Spencer Marchand, and Alexander Lorman (short-handed). Also scoring for Princeton were Justin Carlson, Collin Buness and Derek Abrahamson (power play).
Princeton goalie Max Mattson stopped 41 of 46 shots and Rogers’ Jackson Nelson stopped 22 of 25.
Cecil also assisted on two goals, as did Brown, Jacob Walker and Jason Roberge. Lorman and Blake Timm each made one assist.
The Royals have nine players with at least 20 points, led by Cecil with 16 goals and 19 assists (35 points), Brown 6-27-33, Lorman 7-23-30 and Roberge 15-15-30.
In earlier action, the Royals clinched at least a tie for the conference crown with a 3-1 win over Monticello-Annandale-Maple Lake Feb. 11 at Monticello.
Branden Cecil (power play) and Dustin Scheopke gave Rogers a 2-0 lead in the first period. Sam Johnson’s goal in the second pulled MAML within 2-1. It stayed that way until Jason Roberge hit an empty-netter with 50 seconds left.
Brock Maxwell stopped 16 shots, and Travis Brown, Alexander Lorman and Trent Fredrickson made assists, for Rogers, which outshot the Moose 37-17. Darien Jones of MAML stopped 34 of 36 shots.