St. Paul, MN
Long time rivals hooked up again Friday night at the Warner Coliseum as the Blaine Bengals deposited the Centennial Cougars by a score of 7-1 to advance to the State High School Tournament for the fourth consecutive season. The Bengals are led by an experienced batch of defensemen who have played in their share of elimination games. When they hook up with the Centennial Cougars, anything can happen and the unexpected occurred at the Coliseum Friday night.
Things were quiet through the majority of the first, until a muddy rebound found its way onto the stick of Nick Bjugstad and into the net at 16:09, giving the Bengals a 1-0 advantage. Seconds later, Gavin Tufte pumped another in off a rebound shot, and just like that, Blaine took a 2-0 lead into the first intermission with momentum on their side.
The Cougars began showing signs of a rally early in the second stanza, as Jordan Lovick brought Centennial within one at the 3:02 mark. Their momentum didn’t last long however, as Tyler Turnquist found the five-hole and gave Blaine a 3-1 advantage. The Bengals continued to pressure throughout the second, adding one each from Zac Frischmon and Eric Schied, and the rout was on, as Blaine held a 5-1 lead through two periods.
The third period brought a bevy of infractions and muddy play, as the Bengals finished the Cougars off with two more from Frischmon who completed the hat trick, and gave his team the 7-1 differential. Frischmon heads to state with eight points in section play to his credit, and the Bengals look poised to make a serious run in Saint Paul next weekend at the Xcel Energy Center.
Blaine improved their overall record to 24-3-1 and has a legitimate case to be seeded in the top three of the State High School Tournament. The top four teams are seeded prior to the State Quarterfinals with the bottom four teams selected by a random draw to open with a seeded team.
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