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A lasting first impression

By Justin Magill, MN Hockey Hub staff, 12/06/12, 12:30PM CST


Benilde-St. Margaret's takes care of Burnville behind Naas' four goals

Red Knights' forward Zack Hale (9) makes a pass to his teammate and Burnsville's Tyler Shehy (22) and Sam Dockry offer some defense in Benilde-St. Margaret's 7-4 victory at the St. Louis Park Rec Center on Dec. 6. Photo by Adam Crane.

Benilde-St. Margaret's forward Spencer Naas (8) scored four goals in the Red Knights 7-4 win against Burnsville on Dec. 6 at the St. Louis Park Rec Center. Photo by Adam Crane.

In his first two years of varsity hockey, Benilde-St. Margaret's forward Spencer Naas has accumulated 53 goals and totaled 92 points.

To mention he has a goal-scorer's touch is an understatement to say the least.

However, not many of those who follow the Red Knights had the opportunity to see what Naas could do because those first two seasons were at Blake, where Naas previously played before transferring to Benilde-St. Margaret's.

To make up for it, Naas scored four goals, all in the second period of No. 1 Benilde-St. Margaret's 7-4 win against No. 6 Burnsville at the St. Louis Park Rec Center on Thursday, Dec. 6.

"It was incredible," Naas said. "I had a lot of help from my teammates and it just felt incredible to come out in our first game at home and play well."

Naas scored his first goal as a Red Knight on Dec. 1 at Moorhead, but again, those who follow Benilde-St. Margaret's were not able to see his uncanny ability to find the back of the net.

After the first period and his team down 2-1, Naas got to work and did so quickly.

The one place where Naas could be found all night was right around the net and that is how he scored his first goal.

When Blaze goalie Chris Mallon was unable to find the puck after making a save on a shot through traffic in front of the net, Naas was right there to put it away and tie the game.

On his second goal, Naas stationed himself in front of the net again and that is when his linemate, Alec Baer made a beautiful pass to him in front where Naas was able to knock it in again and more importantly, give the Red Knights there first lead of the game.

"He made me look good tonight," Baer said, who was also playing in his first game at home as a Red Knight. "It was pretty cool to play on his line tonight and to be a part of that."

Late in the third period, Naas recorded two goals within 20 seconds of each other to complete his four goal evening and that stretched the lead to 6-3.

It wasn't just that Naas scored four goals in his home debut for the Red Knights, it was how he scored them.

Benilde-St. Margaret's is know to have firepower with players that can literally score at will such as Grant Besse and Dan Lobosky.

Those two in particular are know to be able to snipe for corners, make highlight-reel dekes or just simply bomb shots by goalies.

What Naas did against Burnsville might not be uncharacteristic of what the Red Knights do to score goals, but possible something that is not well know to those who do not follow.

"Sometimes you just have to go to the net because that is what the game calls for," Naas said. "We made some adjustments after the first period, because we didn't play a good first period. We went to the net a lot more and good things happened for us."

During his playing days at Blake, Naas played in big games and was able to score clutch goals.

With Benilde-St. Margaret's playing an independent schedule this year, there isn't a break in the schedule for what most would classify as a guaranteed win.

With the Red Knights top line of Besse, Labosky and T.J. Moore drawing interests, Naas will be one of the players Benilde-St. Margaret's needs to play well.

"He performed well tonight," Red Knights coach Ken Pauly said. "We are going to need performances like that from him if we want to continue to be a top five team. If he is able to do that, we will have a chance."

Baer showing he belongs

As a freshman at Benilde-St. Margaret's, and coming onto a team that just won a state championship in a season that will be remembered as one of the most remarkable rides in recent memory, the pressure and excitement is magnified that much more.

Alec Baer played in his first home game as a Red Knight, just like his teammate and linemate Spencer Naas.

Similar to Naas, Baer was able to get his name on the scoresheet on several occasions and displayed his skillet, which earned him a spot on the Red Knights varsity team.

"I was really excited to play," Baer said. "The crowd was incredible and there was a lot of support for us, more than I have seen anywhere else I have played."

As an eighth grader, Baer played on St. Louis Park's varsity team.

He transferred to Benilde-St. Margaret's and through two games he already has four points, which included a one goal, two assist performance against Burnsville.

"He's a good young player that can move," Pauly said. "He really knows how to play well in the offensive zone and for a young player, he does a terrific job down there."

After the game, Baer took some time to talk with the MN Hockey Hub about his first varsity game in a Red Knight uniform.

Statistics, Summary

Game Recap

In the home opener for No. 1 Benilde-St. Margaret's, Spencer Naas made quite the impression scoring four goals, all in the second period, as the Red Knights defeated Burnsville 7-4 on Thursday, Dec. 6 at the St. Louis Park Rec Center.

Down 2-1 after the first period, Benilde-St. Margaret's erupted for five goals to take a commanding 6-3 lead into the final period.

Naas tallied the first two goals of period for the Red Knights and concluded the period, scoring two more just 20 seconds apart to give Benilde-St. Margaret's some cushion going into the final period.

Freshman Alec Baer contributed nicely for Benilde-St. Margaret's with a goal and two assists. He had a front row seat to Naas, as both of his assists went to him.

Burnville's Ian Taylor scored two goals to lead the Blaze, which included a nice redirect in the third on a shot from the point.

Both of his goals came on the power play.

Teemu Kivihalme and Tyler Sheehy each had three assists for Burnsville.

In goal, Burnsville's Chris Mallon made 20 saves on 27 shots, while Andrew Sprang made 16 stops on 20 shots.

The loss will bump Burnsville to 1-2-0 on the season.

It will take on Eastview on the road on Saturday, Dec. 8.

Benilde-St. Margaret's improves to 2-0-0 on the season.

It will host Hill-Murray on Saturday, Dec. 8, which is a rematch of the 2012 Class AA championship game, which the Red Knights won 5-1 for its first title in Class AA.

Please check back later for feature stories and three stars of the game.

1. Spencer Naas, Bendile-St. Margaret's
Four goals in his home debut for the Red Knights makes him the easy choice for the top star. He was terrific around the net, where he scored all four of his goals, which came in the second period.

2. Alec Baer, Benilde-St. Margaret's
Also in his home debut, Baer scored a goal and had two assists for the Red Knights. He was on the same line as Naas and assisted on two of the four goals he scored. Baer's goal was a nifty one, where he was able to fight off a check while rushing down the right wing boards. He was able to cut towards the net a slide the puck by Burnsville goalie Chris Mallon.

3. Ian Taylor, Burnsville
A staple of strength and grit, Taylor scored two power play goals for the Blaze by planting himself in front of the net and tipping in shots from the point. He put himself in a place where players are known to get bruised and battered, but he proved that those battle wounds are worth it as he accounted for two big goals for the Blaze.

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