Detroit Lakes icemen clip Red Lake Falls 4-2
DETROIT LAKES - Not much has been moving around during the latest Minnesota winter freeze, but Thursday inside the Kent Freeman Arena, the Detroit Lakes boys' hockey team was moving the puck around the ice well.
With that effective puck movement came goals -- four of them to be precise -- as the Lakers downed visiting Red Lake Falls 4-2 to improve to 5-6-0 on the season.
"The guys moved the puck well," said DL head coach Chris Denardo. "We had a lot of good puck movement in (RLF's) zone. We had tons of chances to score, and that's one thing I wish we could have done better in."
All three facets of the Lakers' game were working against the Eagles, though.
Defensively, DL kept the Red Lake Falls forwards in front of them and kept the ice clear of Eagle skaters in front of the Laker net -- which was manned by goalie Chris Widme, who finished with 34 saves.
Even though RLF outshot DL by a 36-32 margin, the Lakers held a sizable advantage in the quality of shots.
"Our defense was able to keep their shots outside and (Widme) was able to see most of them," Denardo said. "Red Lake Falls had a lot of dump in shots, nothing too threatening."
Another aspect which worked in the Lakers' favor was an early lead -- something which they haven't had much of this season.
Brandon Yozamp was the first to break onto the scoreboard, notching a power play goal 11:02 into the first period, with the assist coming from forward Tanner Lane.
Just 1:26 later, linemate Alex Phelps put DL up 2-0 with an assist by Bryant Swenson.
That lead was increased to 3-0 on Travis Maristuen's power play goal, as Josh Saunders and Yozamp picked up a point each with assists in the second period.
"We are not used to playing with a lead, so that was nice," Denardo said. "Again, the puck movement was key."
The Eagles made a charge at DL, tallying scores late in the second and early in the third period on goals by Luke Olsen and Garrett Schmitz.
But Saunders marked up his second goal of the season -- this one coming on a short-handed series for the Lakers -- and DL's insurance policy with 1:48 remaining in regulation. Ethan Brekke was credited with his third assist on the year on Saunder's goal.
"It was nice seeing Josh get that late goal to seal the game, because he's been working so darn hard this season," the DL coach commented.
With the lead came confidence, especially for Widme, who had a shutout after one period of play.
"Chris played well," Denardo said. "When he can see the shots coming at him and he can stop a few early and build some confidence, he just gets stronger as the game goes on."
RLF goalie Zach Page finished with 28 saves.
The Lakers had a pair of games in Bismarck over the weekend and will continue their 10-game series in 20 days with a road game at Crookston Tuesday for a 7:30 p.m. start.
With that busy part of the season being key for a big push towards the section playoffs, Denardo said intensity will be key.
"We are not a team which can lay back and win games," he added. "I want to see our intensity level up for every game and stay up. We need to have good puck movement and keep putting the puck on net."
Red Lake Falls at Detroit Lakes, Thursday, Jan. 15.
Eagles 0 1 1 - 2
Lakers 2 1 1 - 4
First period -- 1. DL, PP Brandon Yozamp (Tanner Lane) 11:02; 2. DL, Alex Phelps (Bryant Swenson) 12:28.
Second period -- 3. DL, PP Travis Maristuen (Josh Saunders, Yozamp) 5:55; 4. RLF, PP L. Olsen (G. Schmitz) 12:22.
Third period -- 5. RLF, PP Schmitz (R. Glass) 3:15; 6. DL, Saunders (Ethan Brekke) 15:12.
Saves -- DL (Chris Widme) 34...RLF (Z. Page) 28.
Shots on goal -- DL 8 16 8 - 32...RLF 10 13 13 - 36.
Power plays -- DL 2-6...RLF 2-4.