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Ahrens plays like veteran

By Loren Nelson, MN Hockey Hub editor, 09/25/12, 11:37AM CDT


Team Northwest goaltender, a sophomore from Wayzata, shuts out Team Northeast

Wayzata sophomore Vaughan Ahrens made 37 saves in Team Northwest's 3-0 victory over Team Northeast. Photo by Katherine Matthews

Jens Vaughan Ahrens probably didn’t realize that when he got the call to play in the Upper Midwest High School Elite Hockey League he not only would receive a snazzy Euro-styled uniform but would also be stamped with an alter ego.
Meet Jens Vaughn Ahrens, “The Real Aaron Arherms.”
Did we say Aaron Arherms?
Ahrens, an injury replacement for injured Aaron Dingmann on Team Northwest, wasn’t originally listed on the Elite League rosters. Somehow he was plugged into the league as the aforementioned Aaron Arherms.
“No problem,” Ahrens, a Wayzata sophomore, said. “It happens all the time.”
Having a couple names, maybe more, isn’t necessarily a bad thing. Works for rap stars and pop singers. Why not goalies?
By any name, this kid has no shortage of game. He posted a 37-save shutout in a 3-0 victory over Team Northeast on Tuesday, Sept. 25, at New Hope Ice Arena in New Hope.
That’s one way to make a name for yourself.

Vaughan Ahrens played for the Wayzata Bantams last season, when they finished third at the state tournament. Photo by Katherine Matthews

Playing behind Andover junior Chase Perry, the Elite League’s runaway stat leader among goaltenders, Ahrens seemingly was headed for a season of obscurity. The imminent return of Dingmann, a senior who has been battling a variety of injuries for the past year but has returned to practice recently, might knock Ahrens completely out of the league. 
“I’ll battle for it,” the 6-foot-2 Ahrens said with a shrug.
Playing for Team Northwest is any goaltender’s best-case scenario. Not only does Ahrens get an unobstructed view of the cat-quick stylings of Perry, but he also gets to set up behind a defensive corps that limits opposing teams’ “best” quality scoring chances to the occasional bad-angle shot.
“Our D zone has been pretty tight all year,” Ahrens said about his defensemen. “They are playing well. Just closing it down.“
And if Ahrens should allow a rebound, it doesn’t stay in the scoring zone for long.
“They sweep out the garbage,” Ahrens said.
Team Northwest improved to a league-best 8-0-2 with the victory. It has allowed no more than four goals in any game and is allowing an average 1.90 per game. 
Ahrens shutout was the third in league play this season and first that didn’t come against winless Team Wisconsin.
“I try not to think about,” Ahrens said about fixating on a potential shutout in the third period. “It always jinxes me. So I tried to stay away from that.”
Ahrens and Team Northwest survived a late 5-on-3 power play for Team Northeast. He has a 4-0-0 record with a .938 save percentage and 2.18 goals-against average. Those numbers aren’t all that far behind Perry’s.
“It’s great to have another goalie right in front of you that’s going to push you the whole way,” Ahrens said. “He’ll be here next year, so he’ll be somebody to try to beat out.”

Statistics, Summary

Game Recap

Vaughan Ahrens, a sophomore from Wayzata, stopped all 37 shots he faced and Minnetonka junior Jack Ramsey scored twice as Team Northwest continued its unbeaten start to the Upper Midwest High School Elite Hockey League season with a 3-0 triumph over Team Northeast on Tuesday, Sept. 25, at New Hope Ice Arena in New Hope.

Ahrens, filling in for injured Aaron Dingman, a Wayzata senior, needed to make a series of stops in the closing minutes as Team Northwest killed off a 5-on-3 Team Northeast advantage that lasted more than a minute.

Travis Brown, a junior defenseman from Rogers, scored the lone goal of the third period. 

Ramsey scored his goals in the second and third periods, with the final goal coming off a nifty deflection of a hard pass from Blaine’s Jesse Norling.

Team Northwest improved to 8-0-2 with the victory and leads the league with 18 points, three more than Team Southwest (7-0-1).

Team Northeast dropped to 2-7-1.

Three Stars

1. Jens Vaughan Ahrens, Team Northwest
Thirty seven shots, 37 saves. Not bad for a kid who was playing for Wayzata’s Bantams last season. Ahrens, however, hardly resembles a youngster. He stands 6-foot-2 and handles himself with the sort of composure you might expect from a battle-hardened senior.

The junior from Minnetonka scored twice, the second coming on a third-period deflection that found the upper corner and helped put the game out of reach.
The senior goaltender from Totino-Grace turned in yet another solid performance, making a whopping 54 saves, including 24 in the final period when Team Northwest threw everything but the puck bag at him.

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