In the final game of the regular season old rivals renewed acquaintances as the Roseau Rams traveled to the IRA Civic center to close out the regular season. Both teams were assured a finish over the .500 mark and it was critical to leave the regular season playing as well as they could with the sections just days away.
Both the teams have already been seeded as the Rams were seeded #2 in the Section 8AA and the Thunderhawks were seeded #3 in the Section 7AA. The Rams have welcomed back captain, and the heart and soul of their team in Nick Oliver who is appearing in his 8th game of the season and 7th in a row. He entered with 12 points in 7 games and is a force. Sam Rendle paced the offensive attack for the Thunderhawks as he led the team in points with 39.
Oliver went to work in the first period as the quick breakout to the wing and the touch pass to the center was available all night. Oliver streaked through the neutral zone and fed Tyler Landman who got enough on the puck to direct it at the net. Rapids goalie AJ Underwood committed to his right and the puck went to the left, slithering across the line at a snail’s pace for Landman’s 15th of the season at 15:17 of the first period.
Adam Knockenmus figured in the scoring twice as he literally taps in a pass off the left post from Trevor George for the 2-0 lead. The Thunderhawks responded with a muddy John Skrbec goal as he wrapped at a puck until it went in behind Roseau goalie Ethan Kvidt at 8:28. Kvidt made 31 saves in the win and was in solid position all night long. Knockenmus struck again for the 3-1 lead as he muscled his way in toward Underwood and beat him for the two goal lead.
Landman scored in the third period at 2:57 opening a three goal lead on the power play. He converted a pass from behind the goal on the back door as he ripped the Nick Oliver pass in the back of the net. It appeared to be a back breaking goal for the Thunderhawks, yet they did not give up and battled until Sam Rendle punched in a power play goal with less than three minutes left as he shot from the low slot bringing the score to the final margin of 4-2.
The Thunderhawks thought they had the game’s first goal but it was disallowed due to a man in the crease. The Rams were not as effective in the early going of the first period in their own zone, and shored it up impressively as they took a solid hold on the game. The Thunderhawks (11-10-4) showed they have the skill and talent to go far as the #3 seed in the Section 7AA. They open their post season with a game against the #6 seed Cloquet-Esko-Carlton Lumberjacks. The Rams (13-9-3) are seeded #2 in the Section 8AA and face off in the quarter finals with #7 Monticello-Annandale-Maple Lake.