Totino-Grace senior Derek Lodermeier scored twice and had an assist in the Eagles' season-opening victory over Thief River Falls. Photo by Adam Crane
It’s not that Totino-Grace senior Derek Lodermeier minds sticking his nose in the corners.
It’s just that, most times, he doesn’t need to.
Through years of experience, Lodermeier has happily discovered that among the many advantages of playing with the Roo brothers – senior T.J. and sophomore Carter – is that the puck will regularly materialize on your stick.
“The generate a lot of puck work down low, and I’m the third guy up top, and they feed me and I just try to bury the puck,” said Lodermeier, a 6-foot-2, 200-pound senior.
Nothing to it.
Derek Lodermeier grew up playing his youth hockey at the Brooklyn Park Community Center, the new home rink for Totino-Grace. Photo by Adam Crane
The bare-bones game plan was executed to perfection against No. 7-ranked Thief River Falls on Friday, Nov. 30, as Lodermeier twice pounded home loose pucks in the No. 6-ranked Eagles’ 4-2 victory at the Brooklyn Park Community Center.
Lodermeier and the Roo brothers spent large chunks of the time terrorizing the Prowlers’ defensemen with their corner cycling and crisp puck movement.
Totino-Grace coach Mark Loahr won’t tell you that’s the way he drew it up, because he keeps his top line away from the whiteboard as much as possible.
“You know, I do as little coaching of that line as I can,” said Loahr, in 32nd season coaching the Eagles. “ I pretty much just let them go. Because they are all such smart hockey players.”
Lodermeier’s goals weren’t the kind that can be diagrammed. Finding soft spots in defenses and openings behind goaltenders requires quick thinking, not extensive planning.
“They are a nice line,” Thief River Falls coach Tim Bergland said. “They move the puck really well. They are strong on the puck.
“Defensively we just had a bunch of breakdowns. We were following the puck too much and standing still and not picking up the right guys. They make you pay.”
Lodermeier scored 66 seconds into the second period to open the scoring, then put the Eagles ahead 4-1 with a goal 30 seconds into the third. He had another goal waived off in the third when it was ruled the net was off its moorings.
“I would have had the hat trick, but as long as we got the win, I’ll take that,” said Lodermeier, who played at the Under-18 Midget Major level this fall for the Minnesota Blades.
Lodermeier scored 26 goals in 27 games last season but didn’t make make the cut for the Upper Midwest High School Elite Hockey League. Instead, he spent much of his time on the Blades playing on a line with Edina’s Andy Jordahl and Eagan’s Cullen Willox.
“He’s a kid who hasn’t played an awful lot at that higher level,” Loahr said. “He really hasn’t done an awful lot of that as a kid. He needed that kind of competition I think, and that really has helped his game. It’s given him some confidence that he can play with that kind of competition.”
Connor Schmidt of Totino-Grace beats Thief River Falls' Tanner Holmes for a second-period goal. Photo by Adam Crane
Senior Derek Lodermeier scored twice and added an assist as No. 6-ranked Totino-Grace opened its season with a 4-2 victory over No. 7 Thief River Falls on Friday, Nov. 30, in a matchup of Class 1A powers at Brooklyn Park Community Center.
The bruising, 6-foot-3, 200-pound Lodermeier, playing on line with brothers T.J. and Carter Roo, appeared to have scored a third-period goal but it was disallowed after the net was ruled to have been off its moorings.
Carter Roo and Connor Schmidt also scored for Totino-Grace, playing its first game in its new home rink after moving from Minneapolis’ Parade Ice Garden.
After a scoreless first period, the Eagles led 3-1 heading into the third. Lodermeier’s second goal came on a power play just 30 seconds into the third period and gave Totino-Grace a 4-1 cushion.
Logan Engelstad scored in the first period and Logan Ose in the third for the Prowlers, who opened the season on Tuesday with a 2-1 loss in Roseau.
Michael Larson made 22 saves to earn the win for Totino-Grace. Thief River Falls’ Tanner Holmes finished with 34 saves.
1. Derek Lodermeier, Totino-Grace
The 6-foot-3 senior threw his weight around often, but worked his way out of the corners long enough to pop in a couple goals. He’s a key cog on a dominant line that includes the Roo brothers, T.J. and Carter. Lodermeier had a hat trick taken away in the third when another of his goals was disallowed because the net was popped off its moorings.
2. T.J. Roo, Totino-Grace
The senior forward was a force in the offensive zone, controlling the puck and setting up plays from the corners, behind the net and most anyplace he touched the puck. Roo finished with three assists.
Thief River Falls senior Logan Enelstad unloads a slap shot for a second-period power-play goal. Photo by Adam Crane