Boys Hockey: North falls to Hastings, reigns victorious over Irondale

North High senior forward Adam Hildebrandt (22) takes charge of the puck on the line with Justin Oliver (7) during second period action against Hastings. The Polars lost 5-2 at home Nov. 26. (Linda Baumeister/Review)

Tartan dominates Rochester Lourdes

Hastings 5 - North 2

The Hastings Raiders came to Polar Arena Tuesday, Nov. 26, and soon became opportunists at North High’s expense.

In all, the Raiders took advantage of half of the six North penalties when they scored three goals on power plays.

Hastings—which will be a regular visitor next season when the school becomes part of the newly formed East Suburban Conference —outshot North by 44-27 and generally enjoyed a territorial advantage.

The Raiders pushed their early season mark to 2-0 and scored the opening goal of the game on a power play at 3:40.

Next, with a player sitting in the penalty box, the Raiders scored a short-handed goal at 6:43.

Just over a minute later, North’s Justin Oliver and Sam Blees combined to get the puck to Jimmy Salava. The senior winger didn’t miss with a one-timer to the back twines at 7:53.

Midway through the second stanza Salava picked up his second score of the contest. Feeds from Jack Murnane and Tony Bollmann found Salava in front of the net, and he found an opening for the tying 2-2 goal at 8:05.

The second goal by Salava proved to be the last hurrah for North.

Hastings came back at 9:37 with the game-winner on goal by Matt Flynn after assists from Tucker Piotrowski and Jake Eischen.

At 15:29 in the second period the Raiders scored again to make it 4-2.

The score remained that way until 13 minutes had transpired in the third period.

Once again on a power play, the Raiders scored their final goal at 15:29 for the 5-2 triumph.

North 10 - Irondale 2

The Knights of Irondale rode into North St. Paul Saturday, Nov. 30, and left with an eight-point deficit as a result of a 10-2 lopsided North High boys hockey triumph.

It was alumni night at Polar Arena, and four former standout players were inducted into the North Boys Hockey Hall of Fame.

The four inductees were Nate Peasley, Andy Burdick, Neal Verhulst and C. J. Willms.

The night before, 50 former players showed up at Polar Arena for the North alumni games.

After the speeches and laudatory comments regarding the inductees, the main event between Irondale and the Polars got underway.

It didn’t take long for the Polars to take command of the game. Just 1:12 into the fray, the high-powered North first line put a goal into the Irondale back mesh.

A good charge saw Adam Hildebrandt send a feed to Tyler Oliver who relayed the puck to his twin brother, Justin, and he filed a shot inside the left post.

From there the Polars continued dominating the Knights on their way to a 10-2 final.

“I don’t really know what to say of this game,” stated North head coach Jerry Diebel. “It was nice to get those early goals. That changes the complexity of a game.

“Sometimes those goals early on can come back to haunt you, but we didn’t stop playing. It was good to see a solid effort right to the end of the game.”

The Polars put another tally in at the 6-minute mark. Irondale countered with a goal 11 seconds later, but North went on to score six goals in the first 17 minutes and never looked back.

Leading the scoring for North was Justin Oliver with two goals and three assists (2-3), while Tyler Oliver and Sam Blees each had a pair of goals and two assists.

Alex Kroska 1-2, Jimmy Salava 1-1, Luke Kubiatowicz 0-2 and Tyler Steiner 0-2 scored multiple points.

With one goal each were Travis Zappa and Tony Bollman and picking up one point with an assist were Nathan Rubbelke, Hildebrandt and Jack Murnane.

Tartan 7 - Rochester Lourdes 2

The Tartan Titans were on the road Saturday, Nov. 30, to take on the Eagles of Rochester Lourdes. For the second consecutive hockey game, the Titans boys handed a Rochester team a loss.

Back on Nov. 23, Tartan hosted Rochester Century and won by an identical score, 7-2.

The win over the Eagles pushed Tartan’s early record to 2-0.

Once again it was a balanced Tartan attack that produced the win. The Titans got scoring from six different players, and in all they had 11 players pick up points.

The teams battled through the first 17-minute period without a goal.

Early in the second stanza—just 45 seconds in—the Eagles potted the first goal for a 1-0 lead.

The 1-0 deficit ignited the Titans. At 3:04, they knotted the count when Brady O’Sullivan and Zach Moore combined to get the puck to Rusty Axtman. He in turn dented the back twines.

Forty-eight seconds later, Brandon Ayde scored on an unassisted effort to put the Titans on top 2-1 heading into the third session.

Just 45 seconds into period three, Dan Betz, after an assist from Nate McDonald, scored what turned out to be the game-winner.

From then on, the Titans went on to add frosting to their cakewalk and ended with a five-goal, 7-2, margin.

Gaining points in the triumph were Brady O’Sullivan with three assists (0-3). Zach Ledman led in the goals department with two.

Following Ledman’s lead were Axtman 1-1, Ayde 1-0, Betz 1-0, Will Acker 1-0 and Ross Patterson 1-0.

Picking up points with an assist were Moore 0-1, McDonald 0-1, Ryan Hartzell 0-1 and Eric Geskermann 0-1.

Wally Wakefield can be reached at

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