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Mahtomedi too much for Raiders

By Justin Magill, Hockey Hub staff, 12/13/11, 10:00PM CST

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Tanner Jordan scores two goals to give Zephyrs lopsided win over Cretin-Derham Hall

Mahtomedi's Tanner Jordan, Patrick Kegley and Johno May have been linemates for three season.

With time ccomes chemistry, and with chemistry comes points.

This season their points have produced wins, and the trio's impact could not have been more evident in the Zephyrs' 5-2 victory against Cretin-Derham Hall.

Each of the three scored a goal, led by Jordan's two power-play goals, as Mahtomedi's top line combined for nine points.

"We've played together for a long time, and it's just natural for us find each other out there," Kegley said.

When the Zephyrs' top line hit the ice against Cretin-Derham Hall, the offense instantly sparked, and scoring chances came frequently.

Throw in a power play, the three were even more effective.

In the first period, and trailing 1-0, Mahtomedi started its first power play of the game.

It only lasted eight seconds.

From the top of the right faceoff circle, Jordan took a pass from Blake Gunderson and one-timed it into the back of the net to tie the game.

In similar fashion, just as he began the Zephyrs scoring, Jordan ended it in the third period when he buried a one-timer from the left faceoff circle again, this time taking a pass from his linemate May.

"They just kept on giving us the opening," Jordan said. "If they do that, you just have to keep going there until they stop it."

"We just wanted to keep feeding him because he had the hot hand," May said about Jordan. "It just worked out that way for us to keep going to him."

While Jordan was finding space and having teammates find him, May was creating space and scoring chances on his own.

In the first period, he was able to bring the puck into the Raiders zone and go in all alone on Cretin-Derham Hall goalie Alex Bailey.

Before he was able to get a shot off, he was dragged down. Moments later the referee signaled for a penalty shot.

Bailey was able to turn the backhand shot away, but May would get his revenge shortly after, getting another breakaway.

Instead of going to his backhand, May went to his forehand and slipped the shot by Bailey for the goal.

"They create a lot of chances," Zephyrs coach Jeff Poeschl said. "There is talent on that line, but it's just a matter of working hard to create scoring chances."

Jordan and May scored the highlight-reel type goals, but Kegley showed that the line can get the job done in the trenches.

Again on the power-play, Mahtomedi was able to move the puck around at will, waiting for a chance to shoot.

Kegley stuck himself in the thick of the scrum in front of the Raiders' goal and got a shot past Bailey.

Through five games, Jordan leads the Zephyrs with 16 points, spreading out goals and assists evenly with eight each.

Kegley and May follow with five goals each.

"I think they've at the high school level since they were sophomores, so they know each other," Poeschl said. "When they move the puck they are good. If they play individually, they are easier to defend even though they are highly skilled. As long as they move the puck, they are going to be dangerous."

A tale of two seasons

Last season was an unusually down one for Mahtomedi.

After spending the two previous seasons in St. Paul for the state Class 1A tournament, the Zephyrs were only able to get to the .500 mark and were knocked out of the playoffs by Classic Subrban Conference rival St. Thomas Academy in the section semifinals.

A year ago, it took the Zephyrs six games to get their first victory of the season.

That has not been the case this season as Mahtomedi has already won four of its first five games.

"I think we came in more prepared," Jordan said. "We worked out in the gym as much as we could, we have guys staying after practice to skate.

"We never had that  last year."

"Experience certainly is a factor," Poeschl added. "Last year was a tough year and the seniors on this team have been waiting since March to get the taste out of their mouth. 

"The leadership on this team is tremendous and our captains have done a great job with this team in getting them ready for the year. We missed some of that last year and we have it this year."

Along with experience, another asset is overall team speed.

Mahtomedi displayed the ability to transition quickly, going from defense to offense within seconds and applying pressure to  the opposition.

"They say speed kills, and we certainly want to try to put pressure on their defense with our speed," Poeschl said. "There is a lot of speed on our first line, and it doesn't let up in our second and third lines, even though there are some grinders."

Statistics, Summary

Game Recap

Mahtomedi defeated Cretin-Derham Hall 5-2 on Tuesday, Dec. 13, at Highland Arena in St. Paul.

Tanner Jordan led the Zephyrs with two goals and two assists to help give No. 10-ranked (Class 1A) Mahtomedi its fourth consecutive win.

Johno May recorded a goal and two assists for Mahtomedi, and teammate Blake Gunderson had three assists.

Colin Denis stopped 28 shots for the win.

Cretin-Derham Hall scored first, 3 minutes, 50 seconds in on the power-play as Patrick Cullen was able to get a shot from in tight past Denis.

Jordan answered less than three minutes later when he scored the first of two power-play goals.

Later in the first, May was taken down on a breakaway and was awarded a penalty shot. He tried to go to his backhand on Raiders goalie Alex Bailey, but the puck slid innocently away.

However, May was able to get another crack at a one-on-one with Bailey, this time he went forehand and slipped it inside the post to give Mahtomedi a 2-1 lead.

The Zephyrs struck again on the power play in the second period when Patrick Kegley scored amidst a scrum in front of the Raiders' net.

In the closing minutes of the second, Nick Nelson gave the Zephyrs a 4-1 lead when he received a pass from Matt Bonine that sent him on a breakaway on Bailey, where he did not mess around, getting off a quick wrist shot to beat the Raiders' goalie on his blocker side.

Cretin showed signs of fighting back when Jack Stang scored with just 23 seconds left in the period to cut the lead to 4-2.

From the bottom on the left circle, he was able to beat Denis, who had to move quickly to his left after Derek Olmschenk made a nice cross-ice pass to a wide-open Stang.

In the third, Jordan scored from nearly the exact same spot when he drilled a slapshot past Bailey on the power-play to extend the Zephyrs' lead to 5-2.

Denis, stopped 28 of 30 shots for the victory as the Zephyrs improved to 4-1-0.

Bailey finished with 17 saves on 22 shots for the Raiders.

On Thursday, Dec. 15, Mahtomedi will be back in Classic Suburban Conference action when it plays Hill-Murray at Aldrich Arena.

Cretin-Derham Hall dropped its fourth consecutive game after winning its season opener against Blake.

The Raiders are now 1-4-0 and will host East Ridge on Thursday, Dec. 15, at Highland Arena.

Check back soon for the three stars of the game and feature stories.

1. Tanner Jordan, Mahtomedi
Jordan scored twice on the power play to give him eight goals this season. He got the Zephyrs on the board with his first goal in the opening period and concluded the scoring and put the game out of reach with another in the third. He also had two assists to give him four points, boosting his season total to 16.

2. Johno May, Mahtomedi
May had a penalty shot attempt that did not go well in the first period. He went for a backhand shot that resulted in the puck sliding off his stick. He redeemed himself with a breakaway goal, going to his forehand instead. He also had two assists for a three-point night.

3. Colin Denis, Mahtomedi
A junior making his second start of the season, Denis made 28 saves on 30 shots. After allowing a power-play goal in the first period, Denis relaxed and was nearly perfect the rest of the way. He constantly made the first save by being in the right position and was able to control his rebounds, not giving the Raiders much of an opportunity to build momentum.

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Moorhead's Jack Stetz (21) throws his arms up as he and his teammates celebrated the win. ] ANTHONY SOUFFLE • anthony.souffle@startribune.com