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Tartan tames Tigers

By Justin Magill, MN Hockey Hub staff, 01/09/13, 2:10PM CST


Titans' power play overpowers Princeton

Tartan's Jake Jackson has 11 goals and 14 assists through 13 games this season.

After a junior season where he scored 25 goals and recorded 19 assists, Tartan's Jake Jackson had a chance to move onto Juniors and forgo his senior season like many elite players do.

The decision to leave could have been that much easier after the Titans went 10-16-1 last season, but Jackson decided one more year with the friends he grew up playing with is worth more than an extra season of Juniors.

And is that choice working out wonderfully or what?

With their 5-3 victory against Princeton on Thursday, Jan. 10 at Tartan Arena, the Titans have already eclipsed their win total from last season and have an 11-2-0 record.

Jackson, who has committed to play at Michigan Tech, scored a goal and had two assists against the Tigers and through 13 games has 11 goals and 14 assists.

"I am really happy with my decision," Jackson said. "I wanted to come back and play one more year with my friends, and we are having a really good season, so it is all working out."

What makes Jackson so dangerous is his speed.

With a blink of an eye he makes it front one end of the rink to the other and a stride that is so effortless he exerts little to no energy.

Admittedly, an attribute that he will say he does not have to work at as much as other skills, Jackson utilizes it to put opponents on their heels and leave them feeling helpless even though they know he is coming.

"He just has so much speed that is puts so much pressure on who we play," Titans' coach Jim McElmury said. "They are expecting it, yet he finds a way to still get by them."

It doesn't matter what the situation is. Even strength, power play or penalty kill, Jackson is all over the ice.

After Princeton's Chase Lindenfelser scored 15 seconds into the first period, Jackson got to work.

Tartan's first power play accounted for very little and Jackson was visible frustrated.

Less than two minutes after the Tigers killed of their first penalty, they went right back to the penalty box and Jackson made them pay.

Along with his exceptional speed he has developed a quick release and a hard wrist shot to add to his tools.

With the man-advantage, Jackson took the puck from behind Princeton's net, along the boards at to the right faceoff circle.

For a moment he paused and with a flick of his wrists the puck was behind Tigers' goalie Max Mattson for one of four power play tallies for the Titans.

"It was a big goal for us because you never know how your team is going to react after being scored on just 15 seconds into the game," McElmury said. "It also got our power play going as we were really solid on it tonight."

Even though he only scored once, Jackson's presence on the ice was noticeable whenever he hopped over the boards.

When the Titans are on the penalty kill they just need to clear the puck to open ice and Jackson will more than likely be the first one to it.

With little effort Jackson breezed through the Tigers with his quickness and nifty stickhandling to create scoring chances from what appeared to not be there seconds before.

"He's just a great player," Tartan forward Brady O'Sullivan said. "You just have to get him the puck and he will give you a chance to score."

With all the acknowledgement Jackson has received the past two seasons he still has his sights set on having the Titans make some noise in the postseason, where they have not made it to state since 2005.

"I'm just glad we are having a winning season," Jackson said. "I could have gone and played in juniors, but wanted to stay back. Hopefully we can keep this going and do something special in sections."

Statistics, Summary

Game Recap

After giving up a goal just 15 seconds into the first period Tartan stormed back with four unanswered goals to defeat Princeton 5-3 on Thursday, Jan. 10 at Tartan Arena.

The Titans were led by Zach Ledman who scored twice and also had an assist while teammates Jake Jackson chipped in with a goal and two assist and Brady O'Sullivan had four assists.

Chase Lindenfelser opened the scoring for the Tigers.

Jackson tied the score in the first with a power play goal, and Mike Winberg gave Tartan the lead with a power play goal 2 minutes, 31 seconds later.

In the second period Jacob Picht gave the Titans a 3-1 lead just 26 seconds in with a power play tally on a shot from the blue line that beat Tigers' goalie Max Mattson.

Ledman scored the first of his two goals in the third, tapping in a one-timer after a perfect pass from O'Sullivan.

Princeton came back late in the third after Charlie Lupelow was called for a 5-minute boarding penalty.

Dan Muench and A.J. Wesloh scored 42 seconds apart to pull the Tigers within one with 6 minutes, 17 second left in the third.

Tartan was able to survive the final minutes of the Lupelow's major penalty and eventually get another goal from Ledman with one second left into an empty net.

Mattson finished with 26 saves for the Tigers, and Tartan's Gabe Splichal also had 26 saves.

Princeton drops to 11-3-0 on the season and will host Luverne on Saturday, Jan. 12.

Tartan improves to 11-2-0 and will take on rival North St. Paul on the road on Saturday, Jan. 12.

1. Brady O'Sullivan, Tartan
Every team needs a quarterback on the power play and the Titans had O'Sullivan running the ship. The junior had four assists and set his teammates up with quality scoring chances all night.

2. Jake Jackson, Tartan
The senior was a force all night by pressuring the Tigers' defense every time he touched the puck. He scored the Titans' first goal on the power play. He also chipped in with two assists for an impressive three-point night.

3. Zach Ledman, Tartan
Ledman scored the final two goals for Tartan, both in the third period. The Tigers mounted a comeback and put a scare into Tartan, but Ledman's goals proved to be the difference.

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