Rochester Lourdes celebrates after winning its fifth straight Section 1A championship. Courtesy photo
Alex Funk found his groove in the Section 1A championship game, scoring four goals to propel No. 1 seed Rochester Lourdes to a 6-1 victory over No. 2 Mankato West on Wednesday, Feb. 27, at the Rochester Rec Center.
After a scoreless first period where shots were tied at six, it looked like it was anyone's game. The second period was a different story.
Funk, a senior, scored from the point on a Lourdes power play. Two minutes later Funk took the puck around the net and set up a Griff Slightam one-timer for another goal.
Funk, Jason Samuelson, and Karl Krecke would strike again late in the second period with Funk scoring off a tipped shot from Samuelson, his longtime lineman.
"We're the first team to go five straight," Funk said about Lourdes making its fifth consecutive state Class 1A tournament appearance. "I've been blessed to go all four years to state, and I can't get enough of my teammates and how hard they work."
Funk finished with four goals and an assist, while Krecke assisted on three of Funk's goals.
"Al was saying what's going on out here after the first, then the puck just kept ending up on his stick," Krecke said.
Keeping West from scoring is a difficult task. The Scarlets led the Big Nine Conference in goals, lighting the lamp 95 times.
The Eagles were well aware of Scarlets' top scorer Derek Frentz and didn't allow him room to breathe.
"We knew who their sharpshooters were, and overall our defensemen played good," Rochester Lourdes assistant coach Tom DeVinny said.
Funk scored his fourth goal in the third period, and West changed goalies, replacing starter Jake Spiess with Conor Wollenzien.
Lourdes switched goaltenders as well, relieving Jake Burkel with Andrew Ellingson.
West's Ryan Jutting tipped a shot from Max Mettler to score on the Scarlets' first shot on Ellingson.
Burkel saved all nine shots he faced in 44 minutes of play, while Spiess saved 17 of 22 shots in 42 minutes.
"It's never the same, you don't know until you're a senior," Funk said about the Eagles' section title. "Right to the state tournament, here we go."
1. Alex Funk, Rochester Lourdes
The senior had the game of his career, showing all the traits of great player. He sniped on the power play for his first goal, showed patience with the puck to set up Griff Slightam just a few minutes later then tipped a shot from defenseman Karl Krecke for a goal -- all in the second period.
2. Karl Krecke, Rochester Lourdes
The senior defenseman had three assists and made a big defensive play early, hustling to break up a 2-on-0. He also was the triggerman on the power play, with two of his assists setting up Funk goals.