Blizzard down WarHawks
WILLMAR--Willmar WarHawks goaltender Alex Weissenborn made 62 saves but it wasn't quite enough as the Alexandria Blizzard won a physical 3-2 game at the Willmar Civic Center Friday night.
WILLMAR-Willmar WarHawks goaltender Alex Weissenborn made 62 saves but it wasn't quite enough as the Alexandria Blizzard won a physical 3-2 game at the Willmar Civic Center Friday night.
The WarHawks will get another crack at the Blizzard at 7:10 p.m. today when they visit Alexandria.
Weissenborn was tagged for an early goal on an unassisted shot from Riley Scanlon who snuck it past the post three minutes into the game.
The Blizzard set the tone early, playing a physical style of game that the WarHawks struggled to replicate.
"They came out and were banging us around early," said WarHawks head coach Chris Blaisuis. "We just didn't hang with them, our guys played scared and it showed."
Weissenborn stood tall for the remainder of the period, though, stopping the other 16 shots he faced in the period.
Willmar found late success in the first period in a Kyle Wendorf goal with just more than three minutes to go. That goal was Wendorf's team-leading 14th score of the season.
Just a minute later, the WarHawks took the lead with a Jacob Dobberstein wrist shot that beat Alexandria's Brey Effertz.
"We capitalized on a couple of chances," Blaisuis said. "We struggled to get pucks out of our zone all night but when we finally broke it out then it went well."
The second period was all Alexandria. The Blizzard came out of the locker rooms with an aggressive offensive pressure that never let up. The result was a drastic shot differential where Alexandria outshot Willmar 32-4.
Weissenborn kept his team in the game, though, stopping 31 of the 32 second period shots. The lone second period goal came with 1:12 remaining from Josiah Roen who slapped at a flying puck and sent it by Weissenborn to tie the game.
Shots were plentiful in the third period but Alexandria was the only team to break through in the final frame. Logan Norman took a shot with 5:51 left to play to take the 3-2 lead.
Willmar turned up the heat in the remaining minutes, outshooting the Blizzard 10-1 down the stretch but they couldn't find the equalizer.
"We couldn't compete all game except for those last six minutes," Blaisuis said. "Only then did we compete but it was a poor effort."
This is the second of three straight games between the two teams and that has only added fuel to this fiery rivalry. Friday night's game featured plenty of hard hits and talk after the whistle including a spot in the second period where four players received minor penalties for unsportsmanlike conduct.
Blaisuis said it was a frustrating loss for his WarHawks who now sit five points back of a playoff spot behind New Ulm.
"For 54 minutes we got our butts kicked physically," Blaisuis said. "For whatever reason we didn't match the intensity level and that was the difference. It's simple and basic but that was it."
The silver lining of the night came from Weissenborn whose 62 stops are a team-record.
"He's been like this all season," Blaisuis said. "He stands on his head and keeps us in games. Without him this could have been a 10-2 game, he played really well."
Blaisuis said it will be a big test for his team to rebound from the tough loss.
"I told our guys, 'You have to come to the realization that you have no more nights off,'" Blaisuis said. "'Nobody is going to give it to you, you have to take it.'"
Alexandria 3, Willmar 2
Alexandria............. 1 1 1 - 3
Willmar............... 2 0 0 - 2
FIRST PERIOD - A: Riley Scanlon 3:00 ... W: Kyle Wendorf (Jordan Cooper, Nathan Ackerman) 16:48 ... W: Jacob Dobberstein (Michael Tilly, Braden Shea) 17:57
SECOND PERIOD - A: Josiah Roen (Emil Lindfors) 18:48
THIRD PERIOD - A: Logan Norman (Riley Meyer, Logan Nelson) 14:09
GOALIE SAVES - Alexandria: Brey Effertz 28 ... Willmar: Alex Weissenborn 62