PREP BOYS HOCKEY: Cardinals fly by EaglesLUVERNE — Logan Norman scored a pair of first-period goals and Kendall Meyer kept a blank slate as the Luverne Cardinals shutout the Windom Area Eagles, 6-0, in an early-season matchup of Southwest Conference boys’ hockey frontrunners Tuesday night at Blue Mound Arena.
By: Lucas Knutson, Worthington Daily Globe
LUVERNE — Logan Norman scored a pair of first-period goals and Kendall Meyer kept a blank slate as the Luverne Cardinals shutout the Windom Area Eagles, 6-0, in an early-season matchup of Southwest Conference boys’ hockey frontrunners Tuesday night at Blue Mound Arena.
The Eagles entered the game with a 5-0 overall record and a 3-0 mark in the conference, while the Cardinals were a half-game back in the league standings. Luverne’s win moves the Cardinals a half-game ahead of both Windom Area and Marshall.
“We knew Windom was coming into the game with a lot of confidence,” Luverne co-head coach Tony Sandbulte said. “They have some good goal scorers and we did a good job of stopping them. Our kids skated hard, got us the lead and we were able to beat a good Windom team.”
Norman, who added an assist to finish with three points, put the Cardinals in front with 8 minutes, 54 seconds left when he cleaned up a rebound off of Eagles goalie Ben Stubbe. Gunnar Olson and Chaz Smedsrud both had taken shots that Stubbe stopped before Norman put Luverne in front 1-0.
Following a Windom Area power play that the Cardinals killed, Norman extended the Luverne lead with 5:06 left in the first when he received a feed up ice from Jonny Solma and fired a shot from the slot into the chest of Stubbe, who couldn’t quite corral the puck. When the puck dropped to the ice, Norman poked the rebound into the corner of the net.
“You can’t ever give up on a play,” said Norman, who is listed as a 5-foot-11 junior defenseman. “You never know when it’s going to be done, so you just stay with it the whole time.
“We knew we had a good team coming in against us and we didn’t want to lose in front of our home crowd. It was a good effort by everyone on the team (Tuesday). It was a good game.”
Norman’s scores were the only markers of the opening period as Meyer kept the Eagles off the board, stopping Windom Area shots from Zach Bartosh, Travis Janssen, Stuart Schumacher and Dylan Pigman.
Luverne outshot Windom Area 19-8 in the first period and finished the game with a 38-29 advantage. Many of the Eagles’ shot attempts over the course of the game were stopped by Cardinal defenders before reaching Meyer.
“We think that we have some of the top defensemen in the section and we are pretty confident about how we play in the defensive zone,” Meyer said.
“It’s definitely a big win,” the 6-0 junior goalie said. “We knew that (Windom Area) was coming in as a confident team. They have a couple of kids that can really put the puck in the net. It was a good team win for us.”
Windom Area, which outshot Luverne in the second period 12-8, opened the middle frame on the power play from a late first-period penalty on the Cardinals, but the visitors couldn’t break through. The Eagles, who finished the game 0 for 4 on the man advantage, had their best opportunity early in the frame when Janssen set Mitchell Macek up for a shot only to be denied by Meyer.
“Their defensemen are some of the best in the section,” Eagles head coach Jon Ammerman said. “When you have good defensemen and the pucks on their sticks a lot, it’s tough to generate offense from our point of view.”
Smedsrud, a freshman forward, scored the period’s only goal when he put Luverne ahead 3-0 with 6:06 left with assists going to Olson and Toby Sengvongxay.
The Cardinals added three more goals in the final period to secure the win. Cole Desplinter flipped a shot from along the left halfboard that slipped by Stubbe 2 minutes and 39 seconds into the third with an assist to Jackson Frankenhoff, Olson received a pass in the left circle from Norman in the right circle to beat Stubbe stick-side with 10:07 remaining, and following a Eagles’ goalie switch to Garrett Schumacher, Solma completed the game’s scoring with 4:17 remaining with a shot off of Schumacher’s blocker (Austin Maxwell, Skyler Wenninger assists).
“Obviously, we are disappointing with the result,” Ammerman said. “We were excited coming in and it was a game that we were looking forward to. I think, as a whole, we were ready for (the game).
“Luverne’s a good team. They were a team that was picked at the beginning of the year to be on top of the section and to lead our conference. For us to be in the discussion at this point of the season is a positive.
“We’ve already seen a lot of growth as team over the first month. The season isn’t a sprint, it’s a long-distance run. Obviously there are benchmarks where you play games and that’s where your tests are, but I think we can take a lot of good things from this game.”
Windom Area (5-1, 3-1) returns to action Thursday, hosting Fairmont in a non-conference contest.
Luverne (6-1, 4-1) is off until Dec. 26 when the Cardinals travel to Blaine to play Somerset in the Schwan Cup-Open tournament.
Windom Area 0
Windom Area 0 0 0 — 0
Luverne 2 1 3 — 6
First period: 1. Luverne, Norman (Olson, Smedsrud), 8:06; 2. Luverne, Norman (Solma), 11:54. Penalties: Luverne, Desplinter (Interference), 8:48; Luverne, Maxwell (Cross-checking), 16:17.
Second period: 3. Luverne, Smedsrud (Olson, Sengvongxay), 10:54. Penalties: Windom Area, Janssen (Roughing), 6:03; Luverne, Frakes (Boarding-Major), 13:10; Windom Area, Haberman (Head contact), 16:06.
Third period: 4. Luverne, Desplinter (Frankenhoff), 2:39; 5. Luverne, Olson (Norman), 6:53; 6. Luverne, Solma (Wenniger, Maxwell), 12:44 (PP). Penalties: Luverne, Frakes (Cross-checking), 4:47; Windom Area, Macek (Slashing), 11:08.
Shots on goal: Windom Area 29; Luverne 38.
Saves: Windom Area, Stubbe, 28/G. Schumacher, 4; Luverne, Meyer, 29.