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Breakout performance

By MN Hockey Hub staff, 09/15/12, 9:17AM CDT


Elk River junior Andrew Zerban finds scoring touch for Team Northwest

Andrew Zerban of Elk River scored three straight goals for Team Northwest in its victory over Great Plains. Photo by Helen Nelson

In four games coming into Team Northwest’s 8-1 drubbing of Great Plains, Elk River junior Andrew Zerban hadn’t scored once. 

By the second period in the game on Saturday, Sept. 15 at Schwan’s Super Rink in Blaine, he tripled his scoring output by exploding for a hat trick.

His first goal was emphatic. Early in the first period, he caught Great Plains goalie Tucker Windels falling down into a butterfly and wasted no time ripping it top-shelf. In the second period, he followed it up with a beautiful tip in front of the net.

The final score was a tic-tac-toe finish with Matt Colford on an odd-man rush. All high difficulty goals.

“High skilled junior, he’s had kind of a slow start and today he pops in three,” Team Northwest coach Pat Williams said after the game. “It’s coming for him. Some of these guys, they gotta get their feet wet. He finally notched a couple goals.”

Zerban’s best attribute is his ability to put the puck in the net. Not known for being much of a grinder, he led Elk River last season with 24 goals and 7 assists for 31 points.

This year, he will be called upon again to shoulder much of the scoring load as the Elks’ top returning scorer. With lots of new players, a new goaltender, and a new coach in former Minnesota North Star Gordie Roberts, Zerban will be one of the constants from last season.

“I hope the younger kids look up to me,” Zerban said. “I just want to try and stay positive for them. Be a good role model.”

To prepare for this role, Zerban has been trying to improve other areas of his game that have lacked in the past -- namely his strength and physicality. Williams pointed out that he wanted Zerban to work on finishing his checks and being more physical.

While trying out for Waterloo of the USHL, Zerban noticed this problem too. He was constantly outmuscled which hid his ability as a scorer.

To combat this, Zerban has trained in the FIT program five days a week during the offseason. Through weight lifting and exercise, he estimates he has added fifteen pounds this summer.

“It’ll help me in the corners a lot,” he said. “I got pushed around a little bit.”

He seems dedicated to improving himself in time for a promising year at Elk River. The Elks are looking to break through in Section 7AA, a section that’s always tough and full of talent.

“I’ve been working pretty hard,” he said. “Really focusing on playing well in the Elites.”

-- Walker Orenstein, MN Hockey Hub staff

The Chase is on for Team Northwest goaltender

Chase Perry of Andover made 25 saves for Team Northwest in its victory over Great Plains. Photo by Helen Nelson

Chase Perry says he doesn’t pay much attention to statistics.
He doesn’t need to analyze a series of numbers to grade his performance.
“I just try to play my game and have fun,” said Perry, a junior from Andover. “I look at good goals and bad goals and if I’m making a lot of saves.”
Perry allowed just one goal and made 25 saves for Team Northwest in an 8-1 triumph over Great Plains on Saturday, Sept. 15, in an Upper Midwest High School Elite Hockey League matchup at the Schwan Super Rink in Blaine.
The goal Perry allowed was credited to Nick Uglem of Moorhead after the puck deflected into the net off the shin pad of a Team Northwest defenseman.
Good goal? Bad goal?
“Just lucky, I guess,” said Perry, who owns the Elite League’s best save percentage (.950) and goals-against average (1.49).
Despite suffering a knee injury early in last season’s playoffs, Perry led Andover to the Section 7AA championship game, where the Huskies lost 4-1 to Duluth East.
Andover returns most of its top players from last season, although Perry is the only one who made the Elite League. Only power forward Calvin Rak received an invitation to try out.
“We have a quite a few good players this year,” Perry said. “I was kind of surprised no one else even got a tryout.”
Andover can’t match the tradition of the other Section 7AA title contenders (Duluth East, Grand Rapids, Cloquet and Elk River), but the Huskies’ should have advantages over most teams in goaltending and depth.
“Ever since we were little we’ve always said this is going to be our year,” Perry said. All of our players are going to be older, more experience, and this summer we have worked super hard to try to meet our goals.

“Come March hopefully we are playing still.”

-- Loren Nelson, MN Hockey Hub editor 

Statistics, Summary

Game Recap

Andrew Zerban of Elk River scored three of Team Northwest’s first four goals as Team Northwest rolled to an 8-1 victory over Great Plains on Saturday, Sept. 15 at Schwan’s Super Rink in Blaine.

Tyler Cline (Blaine) added a goal and an assist for Team Northwest, which looked in command of the game by the end of the second period. 

In the third period, Team Northwest continued to apply pressure by tacking on four more goals. Eleven skaters registered a point and eight of them notched at least two.

The deep Team Northwest squad played faster and stronger, overwhelming Great Plains.

Andover’s Chase Perry stopped 27 of 28 shots in the game to continue his stellar stretch of play to start the Elite League for Team Northwest. 

For Great Plains, Moorhead’s Nick Uglem scored an unassisted goal and Fargo Davies goaltender Tucker Windels stopped 32 of 40 shots in the loss.

-- Walker Orenstein, MN Hockey Hub staff

Three Stars

The 5-foot-10, 170-pound junior from Elk River with a rocket shot scored three consecutive goals spanning the first and second periods, helping Team Northwest bolt to a 4-0 lead.
Strapped inside his goaltending gear, the 6-2, 175-pound Perry looks – and plays – like a giant. The Andover junior wasn’t tested a lot, but he did make 25 saves while displaying his often unbeatable winning combination of size and quickness.
3. Tyler Cline, Team Northwest
The cat-quick junior from Blaine doesn’t possess overpowering size – he stands 5-7 and weighs 160 – but he made an impact most every shift and finished with a goal and two assists while playing on a high-revving line with Totino-Grace’s T.J. Roo and Benilde-St. Margaret’s Spencer Naas.
 -- Loren Nelson, MN Hockey Hub editor 

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