Benilde-St. Margaret’s coach Ken Pauly describes his top two lines as a ‘good news’ and ‘bad news’ situation.
The good news: If their offense starts scoring early, they’re likely to pile it on.
The bad news: If they’re held in check they can slump and dry out completely.
In their 8-2 win over Lakeville North on Thursday, Dec. 27, at the St. Louis Park Rec Center in St. Louis Park, the Red Knight’s top scorers were nothing but good news after a five-goal burst in the second period knocked out the Panthers.
What started as an innocent 1-0 lead after the first period quickly ballooned into a 6-1 advantage after two frames thanks to the offensive skills of the Red Knights. T.J. Moore danced into the slot and scored with the man-advantage to get things started. He was quickly followed by a breakaway goal from Ben Newhouse and a two-on-one score from Moore again.
“Goal scorers are that way they need to prime the pump a little bit,” Benilde-St. Margaret’s coach Ken Pauly said after the game. “Today they had it going.”
Benilde-St. Margaret's senior forward Grant Besse. He had four goals Thursday.
From there Grant Besse took the baton, powering in two more scores including another breakaway goal for the Red Knights.
“It’s pretty easy to get assists when you’re playing with Grant Besse,” senior forward Dan Labosky said. Labosky had three assists in the contest, one of which went to Besse and two more that went to Moore. “T.J. Moore had two goals tonight too and he’s a great offensive player. He can find the cracks in the ‘D’ and get into open areas to pass it.”
Lakeville North couldn’t handle the speed of Benilde-St. Margaret’s and took lots of penalties in the second and third. The Red Knights took them too, but were able to score shorthanded as well. In the third period, the Red Knights didn’t let their foot off the gas pedal when Besse scored another and Alec Baer tacked one too.
“Besse – I mean every single time if you feed it right on his stick good things are gonna happen,” Labosky said. “It’s pretty easy to play with those kind of players.”
Thursday was the second game in a row that Benilde-St. Margaret’s has scored eight goals -- giving the squad an average of nearly 6.5 goals per game this year. Besse, Labosky, and junior Spencer Naas all have over 20 points. Besse’s 18 goals also puts him at third in the state.
“Any time you’re scoring it feels good,” forward T.J. Moore said. “I think you can say that for any good line that’s played together for years at a time. Once you get in the groove, you don’t stop.”
Benilde-St. Margaret's senior forward T.J. Moore.
Seniors Grant Besse, T.J. Moore, and Dan Labosky all scored at least three points as No. 5-ranked Benilde-St. Margaret’s (7-2-0) put the beat down on Lakeville North 8-2 on Thursday, Dec. 27, at the St. Louis Park Rec Center in St. Louis Park.
Besse had four goals including a breakaway goal where he made a simple nonchalant move past goaltender Pierce Wilson to score in the last game of the day in the Sports Authority Holiday Classic.
The Red Knights were only on top 1-0 after the first period, but things unraveled for the Panthers (4-5-0) in the second as Benilde-St. Margaret’s scored four unanswered goals to put Lakeville North away.
The speed and passing skill of the Red Knights was just too much for the Panthers. Plus, they marched to the penalty box often, not doing themselves any favors. Wilson played really well in the first period when he made six saves on seven shots but he finished with just 41 saves on 49 attempts.
Senior goaltender Andrew Sprang played alright for the Red Knights, blocking 13 shots on 15 chances.
Junior Spencer Naas collected two assists for Benilde-St. Margaret’s and junior defenseman Johnny Austin had three assists.
The goal scorers for Lakeville North were sophomore Jack Poehling and junior Tristen Hazlett.
1. Grant Besse, Benilde-St. Margaret’s
Besse added to his scoring totals by netting four goals. He has a team-high 24 points (18 goals, 6 assists) and was pretty unstoppable Thursday. His soft hands were on display as well as his knack for being in the right place at the right time, popping in rebounds and finding open space.
2. T.J. Moore, Benilde-St. Margaret’s
The senior forward was a sparkplug and had two goals that injected the Red Knights with life. He had two goals and an assist, giving him 13 points this year (five goals, eight assists).
3. Dan Labosky, Benilde-St. Margaret’s
Rounding out the scoring trio, Labosky notched three assists. He has 23 points with five goals and 18 assists, which is nearly the opposite of Besse’s 18 goals and six assists. Coincidence? I think not.