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Boys hockey: Mustangs gallop past Titans
The Mounds View Mustangs came to Tartan Jan. 30 for a makeup boys’ hockey clash. In a rare afternoon start, the Mustangs rode home with a 3-2 victory.
It was a sweet success for Mounds View head coach Rick Thomas, who is rebuilding the team this year.
“We’re young. We lost 14 seniors to graduation last spring,” Thomas pointed out. “These kids are starting to buy into our system. We started slow, but now we have won six of our last seven games. Now we have a problem of getting these kids to play a whole game for 51-minutes.”
Tartan co-head coach Steve Romanchuk, meanwhile, was lamenting the loss of ice time.
“We haven’t skated for almost a week. The last time we were able to get on the ice was last Wednesday,” Romanchuk said. “When they called off school they even closed the arena.”
His charges will get the chance to brush up on some basics when they get back on the ice, Romanchuk indicated.
“I thought, especially in the first period, that we looked a little rusty. We made some mistakes and turnovers that cost us. Our goalie (sophomore Julius Huset) had a good game. I thought he made some good saves that kept us in the game.”
Huset turned aside all but three of the 31 shots ticketed for the rear of the Tartan goal.
Mounds View scored the first goal and never trailed in the game. A pass from Evan Mattson hit the stick of Tucker Gran, who bounced a shot off Huset’s pads. The rebound caromed to the left doorstep where Matt Hunt was on hand to bang it to the back mesh at 6:56.
Play moved into the second period and almost through it before the buzzing Titans were able to capitalize on their efforts.
Good pressure by the Titans in the Mounds View end of the ice saw Zach Ledman pick off an attempted clearing pass. The senior starting center wasted no time sending a quick wrister into the back twines. The 1-1 tying tally came at 15:28 of the second peirod.
Early in the third period it was the Mounds View starting line that moved the Mustangs to another one-goal margin. Some good give-and-go passing saw Mattson move the disc to the blade of Hunt who relayed it on to Gran. At 3:41 T. Gran banged it home for a 2-1 Mustangs’ edge.
Tartan went on a power play and didn’t pass up the opportunity. Some good precision passing paid off when ledman sent a feed Zach Moore who relayed the puck on to Rusty Axtman. The Tartan senior winger one-timed a laser shot into the back of the Mounds View goal at 11:51.
The Titans tying goal aroused the Mustangs, who responded with what turned out to be the game winner just under a minute later.
A feed from Jacob Reisdorfer found Drake Gran in the deep slot, and he wasted no time hitting the far reaches of the Tartan goal for the game-winner at 12:46.
Late in the period, the Titans went on another power play. They were able to pull Huset for a sixth attacker, but the effort went for naught and the Mustangs held on to gain the non-conference win.
Next up the Mustangs take on Forest Lake, Feb. 6 at 7:30 p.m. at Aldrich Arena. They then travel to St. Croix Arena Feb. 8 for a 7:30 p.m. scheduled game against Stillwater and take on Woodbury Feb. 10 in a 7:30 p.m., drop of the puck at Shoreview Arena.
The Tartan Titans will next play a makeup game at Polar Arena Feb. 5, 7:30 p.m., against School District 622 archrival North. They travel Feb. 6 for a 7:30 p.m. contest against the Simley Warriors at the Veterans Memorial Ice Arena. The Titans return to home ice at Tartan Arena Feb. 8 for a 3 p.m. scheduled game start against Mahtomedi.
Wally Wakefield can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.