Detroit Lakes knocks off No. 10 Alexandria in huge road victory
Lakers all-senior top line spearheads a solid all-around effort to upset the Cardinals.
The last three days were ones to forget for the Alexandria boys hockey team. After a 10-2 drubbing in Rogers, the Cardinals were out-worked by a hungry Detroit Lakes team at home on Saturday night.
The Lakers (8-7) dominated the final two periods and frustrated Alex on their way to a 4-1 win. The loss dropped the No. 10-ranked Cardinals to 7-7-1 on the season with just two games left before the Section 6A tournament.
"Maybe we have a team that needs to be coddled a little bit and have some easier games to build confidence," Alexandria head coach Josh Meyers said. "As coaches, we were thinking we want to play the best teams around. But maybe it's the other way around. I don't know anymore."
After giving up a short-handed goal from junior Josiah Gronholz, Detroit Lakes staved off several Alexandria chances to end the first period. From there, it was all Lakers and their performance was something the DL coaching staff had been waiting to see.
The best game this year!!!! 4-1 Lakers!!!! pic.twitter.com/82WHQqLo3L— Laker Hockey (@dlhshockey) March 7, 2021
“A completely different team than what we’ve seen all year,” Detroit Lakes head coach Ben Noah said. “It’s one of those things where it finally came together. We’ve been begging for it and were doubting that it was in there and all of a sudden we go out and put three periods together. The energy with the kids was special tonight. When you sit back as coaches and look at it and go wow, that’s what it’s supposed to look like.”
Spencer Bergman sniped a shot bar-down to tie the game four minutes into the second period shortly before Jordan Fields put Detroit Lakes in front for good.
"This is their championship game," Meyers said. "I guess this was supposed to be point night for us or something. I don't know. I guess that was the mentality in our locker room."
The lone bright spot for Alexandria was between the pipes. Junior Teagan Pfeffer shut the door on several high-danger chances that would've made the final score worse than it was.
"We believe we have the two best goalies in the state," Meyers said. "When either one of them is back there, we know we can win the game. Obviously, they can't score for us, so we have to do something."
Aiden Kennedy and Tommy Fritz put the nails in Alexandria's coffin in the third period.
“It was a breath of fresh air tonight,” said Noah. “Our compete level, we never turned it off. We had maybe two moments tonight where we got hemmed in. We played good, had solid position and got good goaltending. It was just great.”
Jayden Geerdes led all Laker skaters with a three-point night, all assists on the first three DL goals.
Noah praised his top line of all seniors for setting the tone all game long.
“Our seniors have finally figured out a way to bring a passion that trickled down,” said Noah. “That Tommy Fritz, Jake Green and Jacob McAllister line was so good tonight. They just brought the energy every shift and that’s contagious.”
That energy turned into success. Green had a pair of assists, Fritz one goal and Kennedy had a goal and an assist, scoring for the second straight game after netting his first career varsity goal last Tuesday.
“We were seeing plays being made that we can do in practice with no pressure and all of a sudden it showed up tonight,” Noah said.
Jack Hines made 16 saves to earn the biggest victory of the season.
The Cardinals have played in the section championship game each of the last three seasons and will have their hands full this time around if they hope to make it back.
"I think we do really well when we win," Meyers said. "We have to get back to the basics. I thought when our back was against the wall tonight we showed some urgency. That needs to be the norm. We don't need to be down two goals to get to that point."
For Detroit Lakes, the victory was big as the Lakers had two of the last three games on the schedule negated by COVID restrictions at Crookston. The Pirates canceled all of their games through Monday, March 15.
The Lakers (8-7) picked up a replacement game against St. Cloud Cathedral Tuesday, March 9. Wadena-Deer Creek comes to Detroit Lakes Thursday, March 11 in what appears to be the regular season finale.
DETROIT LAKES 0 2 2 - 4
ALEXANDRIA 1 0 0 - 1
Alexandria- Josiah Gronholz (SH) 4:48;
Detroit Lakes- Spencer Bergman (unassisted) 4:08;
Detroit Lakes- Jordan Fields (Rian Solberg) 7:10;
Detroit Lakes- Aiden Kennedy (Jake Green) 8:14;
Detroit Lakes- Tommy Fritz (Green) 12:24;
Alexandria- Teagan Pfeffer, L, 21 saves, 4 goals allowed;
Detroit Lakes- Jack Hines, W, 16 saves, 1 goal allowed