Hibbing/Chisholm at Virginia/Mt. Iron-Buhl
7:30 p.m., Thursday, Jan. 8
Bragging rights on the Iron Range are at stake when Hibbing/Chisholm (6-5-1) visits Virginia/Mountain Iron-Buhl (3-8-0) Thursday night at Miners Memorial Arena. These are two strong traditional rivals who’ve had some real wars in past years. Both are trying to rebound from tough starts to the winter, as well, giving this game some extra juice.
The Blue Devils ended a six-game losing streak over the holidays and are 2-2-0 in their last four games, but scoring has continued to be an issue. Virginia hasn’t tallied more than three goals in a game since a season-opening 5-0 win over Little Falls and is averaging just 2.3 per game, led by Ian Blaeser (7-7-14). Lucas Murray (3-7-0, 3.01, .924) is one of the top goaltenders in northern Minnesota and has been impressive, despite facing more than 38 shots a game.
The Bluejackets have played three overtime games in their past five, but have yet to record a win, going 0-2-1 (losing 2-1 to Brainerd and 5-4 to Mahtomedi and tying Crookston 4-4). Sophomore defenseman Scott Perunovich (3-19-22) looks like the next in a long line of Hibbing star players, leading the team in scoring through his first dozen varsity games. An amazing 13 of his 19 assists have been recorded on the power play.