Bloomington Jefferson goalie Grant Martens makes a save against Benilde-St. Margaret's. Photo by Jon Laqua
Bloomington Jefferson's Tyler Johnson scores the winning goal in a 4-3 shootout against Benilde St. Margaret's. Photo by Jon Laqua.
If No. 19-ranked Bloomington Jefferson (7-2-0) was looking for drama, the Jaguars sure found it on Thursday night.
In a 4-3 shootout win over No. 9 Benilde-St. Margaret’s (7-3-1), the Jaguars converted on two of their shootout opportunities, once again, in dramatic fashion. With A.J. Robbel’s “Datsyukian” bar-down dangle and Tyler Johnson’s one-handed shootout goal, the excitement factor was not lacking.
But behind all of the craziness of Jefferson’s win in the quarterfinals of the Sports Authority Classic at the St. Louis Park Rec Center, a calm presence stood at the other end of the ice. His pads may imply otherwise, but Jaguars goalie Grant Martens was cool and collected.
All night long.
“He stopped everything he should have and maybe even a couple that he shouldn’t have, and that’s what we know we get out of Grant,” Jefferson coach Jeff Lindquist said. “And that’s what you need out of a senior goaltender.”
Finishing the night with 34 saves, and a couple more in the shootout, the senior kept the Jaguars in the game despite being outshot 37-18.
“I just tried to focus on the puck and stick to the game plan that we had before the game,” Martens said.
Sporting a wide smile outside the locker room, it was obvious which player was the goalie. With a reputation for being the goofballs of the team, Martens fits the role of the goalie perfectly, yet still displays his leadership on the ice.
“Grant is a character, which most goalies are," Lindquist said. "That’s something that a team needs, something to keep things loose, but he’s a competitor, and that’s a reason why he’s a captain."
Jefferson led 2-0 midway through the first after senior captain Johnny Panvica fired a shot over Benilde-St. Margaret's goalie Ryan Bischel’s glove, and the Jaguars Frankie Moore added another a little over a minute later.
“Anytime you can [get early goals] it makes the rest of the game easier, doesn’t it?" Lindquist said. "That was part of our plan. We try to get after anyone we play early and set the tempo of the game in the first period.”
Tyler Johnson, who scored the final shootout goal of the night, was whistled for two penalties in opening period, but battled back, finishing the game with an assist.
“We had a goal as a team that we wanted to play a physical game, and I wanted to come out, work hard, and battle in front of the net and get some in," Johnson said. "It worked out for us today.”
Two more periods of physical hockey followed, and after a late Red Knights goal from Carter Roo, the game was sent into overtime, then a shootout.
But don’t worry, that was no problem for Martens.
“You obviously know guys like (Spencer) Naas are good, but you gotta keep a clear head and just focus on the puck,” Martens said.
A flashy glove save on Johnny Austin and an aggressive play on Chase Jungels helped propel Martens and his team into the semifinals against Wayzata on Friday.
“We really came out and showed what we had tonight … I think we’re going to make some noise in this tournament,” Johnson said.
– Will Jarvis