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Virginia clicking on power play

12/14/2010, 9:06pm CST
By Jordan Doffing, Hockey Hub staff

Second period letdown again hurts Duluth Central in loss to Blue Devils

Duluth Central wrapped up its season-starting six game home stand with a 7-3 loss to Virginia / MI-B.  The Trojans started their season with a 3-3 record and now will have to stand the test of playing on the road for the first time this season with back-to-back games this weekend.

It can be hard to break bad habits and to get out of a bad rut, and Central seems to have found themselves in a bad rut. In terms of playing high caliber teams Central has started out strong but can’t seem to finish games. Virginia / MI-B made sure to keep that trend going as the Blue Devils outscored the Trojans in the second and third periods three goals to one for a total of six goals to two. The score was tied at one goal apiece after the first period.

“Being on the road we started a little tight, it took us a little while to get into the flow” said Virginia / MI-B head coach Keith Hendrickson, ”We got better as the first period went on and we played really well in the second and third periods."

Central came out strong outshooting Virginia / MI-B 6-1 in shots on net. The Trojans also scored first off of a Levi Talarico goal. Virginia would answer back with two goals, the first coming from Travis Eddy unassisted halfway through the first period, and the second coming just after the nine minute mark of the second period from Garret Hendrickson. Central stayed in the game and tied it back up 4:40 left in the second period from a Colin Magnuson goal. This would be as close as the Trojans would get to the Blue Devils.

“I thought we came out battling really well but then we started getting down on ourselves and we couldn’t put the puck away” said Central captain Tyler Kaspari, “We got some dumb penalties and then things just weren’t going our way.”

The Blue Devils went on to score four goals in a row throughout the second and third periods to make it 6-2. Central came out strong in the third and it looked as though the game was going to become close again. Virginia / MI-B didn’t have a shot on net until 11:30 left in the third period, this first shot on net would also turn into an Eddy goal.

“I think we had a couple really good shifts and a couple real easy goals to make that a little different game” said coach Smalley, “We got snake bit, we didn’t put it away and it came back and went in our net.”

Four of Virginia / MI-B’s seven goals came off of the Blue Devil power play.

“We’ve got to stay out of the box and we need to know that the calls aren’t always going to go our way” Kaspari said, “We need to come back to practice and get back to the book and just get back to the simple things.”

The Trojans would score a goal in the third period to make it 6-3. With 90 seconds left in the game Central pulled Zach Thompson out of the net and just 30 seconds later Hendrickson would score his hat trick goal and push his point total of the night to five.

“We fore-checked hard and we worked hard as a team” said Garrett Hendrickson, “Our power play was good at contributing tonight, which is nice because we haven’t being scoring on the power play but now we’re starting to roll.”

Duluth Central head coach Kevin Smalley said he takes responsibility for the lack of discipline from his players over the first six games.

“We can’t give up four power play goals, you can’t take eight or nine penalties a game. It’ll come back to haunt you” said coach Smalley, “We wore ourselves out killing penalties, obviously we didn’t do a good job of doing that but it comes down to discipline.”

As mentioned Duluth Central will be play on the road for the first time this season as they travel to play Hopkins on Friday and then Buffalo on Saturday.  Virginia / MI-B will also be on the road as they travel to play International Falls on Friday and Eveleth-Gilbert on Saturday.

Three Stars

1. Garrett Hendrickson, Virginia / MIB
Hendrickson carried his team to victory over Duluth Central with a hat trick and two assists. His five point game adds to his season total of 14 points though six games. Hendrickson and his line mates (Eddy and Judnick) have accounted for 34 points this season already.

2. Travis Eddy, Virginia / MIB
Eddy netted two goals and two assists in his team’s victory over Duluth Central. Eddy now has ten points through six games.

3. Levi Talarico, Duluth Central
Talarico scored the game’s first goal and then figured on both of Central’s other goals by notching two assists. Talarico now has eleven points through six games on the season.

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