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Tribune photo by Rand Middleton Willmar junior forward Austin Smith absorbs an elbow from Marshall senior defenseman Brent Haukom in the first period Saturday in Willmar. Smith would cap the period with a goal at 16:58 that turned out to be the game-winner.

Boys hockey roundup: Timely first goal lifts Cardinals

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WILLMAR — Austin Smith’s first varsity goal was a beauty — and a game-winner.

Smith, a junior right-handed stick-handler, whacked a puck out of mid-air, hip level, with two ticks left in the first period that got by Marshall goalie Mason Campion on Saturday in the Cardinals’ 3-1 win over the Tigers.

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It gave Willmar a 2-1 lead that stayed that way until Joey Lee provided the clincher approaching the final minute of the third period.

Smith was stationed just outside the crease when Ryan Woltjer cycled the puck behind the Marshall net to the opposite corner where Evan VanDenEinde flicked it at the slot.

Tyler Pendill’s goal, assist to Isaac Kobenia,   6 minutes into the game, put Willmar up 1-0.

The only mark against Willmar goalie Levi Goosmann came three minutes later on a Marshall powerplay. Alex Buysse, from down low and similar to Smith’s goal, redirected  a feed from the side that Goosmann stood small chance to stop.

The Cardinals, who played at feverish pace throughout, put constant pressure on the Tigers’ defense, revealed in a 43-10 shot advantage.

Lee’s goal at 15:52 into the final frame came from a near impossible angle on the goal line right.

After taking only one penalty in Thursday’s loss to Alexandria, the Cards were whistled for six minors to a pair for Marshall (3-4).

Willmar went to 4-1 and is 2-0 in its new section, 3A, which the Tigers won last year before going 0-2 at the state tournament.

Willmar is at Sauk Rapids on Thursday and back home Saturday evening to play Park Rapids, coached by Willmar alumni Peter Stahnke.

Willmar 3, Marshall 1

Marshall (3-4)     1  0  0 — 1

Willmar (4-1)      2  0  1 — 3

FIRST PERIOD – Wil: Tyler Pendill (Isaac Kobenia) 6:02 … M: Alex Buysse (Blaine Moran, Brent Haukom) 9:37 … Wil: Austin Smith (Evan VanDenEinde, Ryan Woltjer) 16:58

SECOND PERIOD – No scoring

THIRD PERIOD – Wil: Joey Lee (Buzzy Tollefson) 15:52

GOALIE SAVES – Marshall: Mason Campion 11-13-16-40 … Willmar: Levi Goosmann 3-4-2-9

Saturday’s result

Luverne 12, Morris/Benson Area 1

 Chaz Smedsrud piled up 7 points, five on goals, as the Cardinals buried Morris-Benson Area (0-7) at Blue Mound Arena on Saturday. Shots were 40 to 16 favoring Luverne. Taner Gimberlin, from Lincoln Pahl, ended the shutout at 3:48 of the third. Tony Bruns ended with 28 stops.

MBA      0  0  1 —   1

Luverne               6  4  2 — 12

Late Friday

Prairie Centre 1, LDC 0

Litchfield/DC (4-3)            0  0  0 — 0

Prairie Centre (4-3)         0  1  0 — 1

FIRST PERIOD – No scoring

SECOND PERIOD – PC: Cody Steward 9:35

THIRD PERIOD – No scoring

GOALIE SAVES – Litchfield/Dassel-Cokato: Braeden Wahl 29-28… Prairie Centre: Clay Deters 25-25

Red Lake Falls 12, Morris/Benson Area 1

MBA      0  0  1 —   1

Red Lake Falls 2  6  4 — 12

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Rand Middleton

Covers Willmar and area high schools and Ridgewater College, plus amateur baseball, stock car racing and fitness events in summer. Writes weekly column since 1980. Began working in radio and at weekly newspaper in Munising, Michigan, in 1972. Started parttime at West Central Daily Tribune Sept. 1974. Fulltime beginning Feb. 1979. Married to Tribune news clerk Donna (Miller) Middleton, formerly of Kerkhoven. 2 grown children. 

(320) 214-4334
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