Blaine's Joey Lau goes in on a breakaway, but was stopped by Andover goalie Chase Perry in the first period. The Bengals beat Andover 5-0 on Thursday, Jan. 5 at Fogerty Arena. Photo by Brian Nelson
Blaine goalie Bailey Ketola makes one of his 20 saves on the night. Photo - Brian Nelson
Blaine picked a great time to get out of its rut.
Coming into its matchup with Northwest Suburban Conference rival Andover, the Bengals were mired in four-game losing streak, a stretch in which they had been outscored by a combined 17-6.
A phenomenal 6-0-1 start to the season was a fast-fading memory after an 0-3-0 Schwan Cup and a tough loss to Duluth East on Jan. 3, but the Bengals bounced back and took down Andover 5-0 on Saturday, Jan. 5 at Fogerty Arena.
"It was a huge game for us to bounce back from," Bengals' junior center Brandon Notermann said. "We have a grading scale in our locker room and we went from an "F" on Thursday to an "A" tonight."
Blaine's perfect grade started right from the opening faceoff.
Even thought its goals did not come until later in the first period Blaine was more aggressive than the Huskies.
The Bengals' speed was more prevalent than in the loss to Duluth East, and the increased scoring chances provided more evidence of that.
They were firing pucks to the net and created plenty of traffic in front of Andover goalie Chase Perry.
Blaine's Tyler Cline scored on a wrist shot from the top of the left faceoff circle that hit the top of Perry's glove and trickled in. Brandon Notermann followed just 74 seconds later to extend the Bengals lead to 2-0.
The two-goal lead could have been a lot worse for Andover. Blaine outshot the Huskies 14-2.
"I thought we came out and played really well in the first," Bengals coach Dave Aus said. "We put a lot of shots on them and they only gave up two. Considering we were coming off four straight losses, which I can't remember if we ever had that before, we came out and opened the game about as good as we could have."
"It was just a disappointing first period," Andover coach Mark Manney said. "They beat us to every loose puck and made it tough on us. We got to get going or else we may find ourselves with a 5-10 record in a hurry."
Even when the Huskies had power plays, they could not get any offensive flow going.
Blaine was superior on the penalty kill going a perfect 5-for-5.
There was a stretch in the second period where the Bengals were on the penalty kill for four of the first six minutes.
The aggressive penalty killers continued to hound Andover, which caused turnovers and easy clearing attempts.
"Our coaches just told us to put pressure on them," Cline said. "It was big to not let them get too much going."
"During this losing streak our penalty kill was awful," Aus said. "Much like bouncing back after some tough losses, it was good to see us play well on the kill. It was a close game until the third, so for us to not give up any power-play goals was huge."
Despite holding a 34-10 shot advantage through two periods, Blaine was only up 2-0.
It had a power play to open the third and as soon as it ended Joey Lau, who had two quality chances earlier, finally buried a wrist shot to give the Bengals a 3-0 lead.
"We talked how important the next goal was during the second intermission," Aus said. "The next one was big and I felt that we were going to win after that because I did not see them scoring four on us tonight."
Putting an end to the streak was one key factor, but a conference win was another for Blaine.
The Bengals are 5-0-0 in the Northwest Suburban and trail Elk River and Centennial in the league points race. Both the Elks and Cougars have 6-1-0 records.
Blaine has seen the conference title go to Maple Grove each of the last two seasons.
"It's a big win for us because we ended a losing streak and we got a big conference win," Cline said. "All conference games are big and we want to win it again because we haven't gotten it since '10."
Blaine's Tyler Cline celebrates his first period goal during Blaine's 5-0 shutout of Andover. Photo - Brian Nelson
Brandon Notermann scored twice and Tyler Cline chipped in with a goal and two assists as Blaine defeated Andover 5-0 on Saturday, Jan. 5 at Fogerty Arena.
The win snaps a four game losing streak for the Bengals (7-4-1) and remain a perfect 5-0-0 in the Northwest Suburban Conference.
Blaine outshot Andover 48-20 and had a 14-2 shot advantage after the first period.
Cline scored on a wrist shot in the first and Notermann scored just 74 seconds later to give the Bengals a 2-0 lead.
There was no scoring until early in the third when Joey Lau scored for Blaine right after its power play ended.
Notermann scored his second 10 minutes, 31 seconds into the third and Dallas Gerads followed less than four minutes later to conclude the scoring.
Andover was 0-5 on the power play and did not have any sustained pressure with the man-advantage.
Huskies' goalie Chase Perry stopped 43 shots while Bailey Ketola made 20 saves for Blaine in the shutout.
Andover drops to 5-7-0 on the season and will travel to Maple Grove on Thursday, Jan. 10.
Blaine will have another conference game as well against Northwest Suburban leader Elk River on Thursday, Jan. 10.
Blaine's Dallas Gerads had one goal on the night and also spent considerable time "disrupting" Andover defenders, in this case it was Brit Brothen, a senior defenseman for the Huskies. Photo - Brian Nelson
2. Tyler Cline, Blaine
Cline opened the scoring in the first with a wrist shot that beat Chase Perry's glove from the left faceoff circle. He also chipped in with two assists. Known to be one who doesn't shy away from putting pucks on net, Cline dished out some nice passes to teammates which created a bevy of scoring opportunities.
3. Bailey Ketola, Blaine
Even though he only faced 20 shots, Ketola was solid in net to earn the shutout. He did face a flury late in the third when the Huskies had a late power play. Ketola was a big factor in what was a perfect penalty kill as he gave up few rebounds to let Anodver gain any momentum.