Boys hockey: Luverne edged in showdown of state-ranked teams
DAILY GLOBE LUVERNE -- Rarely does southwest Minnesota see a high school hockey contest as high-profile as the one at Blue Mounds Arena Saturday.The battle pitted Luverne -- ranked No. 8 in Class A -- against No. 4 St. Paul Academy and Summit School.
LUVERNE - Rarely does southwest Minnesota see a high school hockey contest as high-profile as the one at Blue Mounds Arena Saturday.
The battle pitted Luverne - ranked No. 8 in Class A - against No. 4 St. Paul Academy and Summit School. The game lived up to its billing.
In the end, the difference was a rough stretch for the hosting Cardinals midway through the first period when it allowed three goals in less than a minute and a half. That propelled the Spartans to a 5-4 nonconference victory.
“It was a heck of a game and we appreciate St. Paul Academy coming here,” said first-year LHS head coach Kullen Schroht. “A nice battle. We played well. Overall, we did what we could.”
Luverne was the first to strike. Just 2:24 into the game, super sophomore Jaxon Nelson scored with an assist from Nick Behrend to put the home team up 1-0. But Matt Dahlseide scored unassisted at the 7:54 mark to knot things up and things temporarily went haywire for the Cards.
Only 40 seconds passed before Will Kelly found Jack Johnston for a goal that put SPAS up 2-1. Kelly added another quick score at the 9:22 mark with helpers from Johnston and Riley Bowman. That gave the Spartans a 3-1 lead after one.
Justin Jallen’s power play goal early in the second increased the Cardinal deficit to 4-1 before they began to fight back. That started when Declan Beers scored with 13:10 gone by in the period off of an assist by Trey Roberts.
It looked like SPAS might carry a three-goal, 5-2 lead into the third when Cullen McCabe scored with just 17 seconds remaining. That changed to 5-3, however, when the dynamic offensive duo of Chaz Smedsrud and Nelson teamed up for a Smedsrud power play goal with just one second on the clock.
The late goal gave the Cardinals some momentum and they made good on that at the 6:27 mark. Nick Harder took advantage of a power play opportunity with helpers from Nelson and Smedsrud. That goal made it 5-4, but Luverne was unable to come up with the equalizer during the game’s final 10 minutes.
Nelson finished the game with three points (one goal, two assists) to lead the Cardinals with Smedsrud notching one of each. Kaden Ericson stopped 29-of-34 shots sent his way while Spartan goalie Andy Beran was 28-for-32 on save opportunities.
Luverne (2-1 overall, 1-0 Big South Conference) will look to rebound on its home ice against Marshall at 7 p.m. Tuesday.
SPAS 3 2 0 - 5
Luverne 1 2 1 - 4