STMA’s Connor Spetz looks for the puck during a shift. After starting the season 3-2, the Knights hockey team has fallen to 3-6. (Photo by Jake Schroer)
After starting the season 3-2, the Knights hockey team has fallen to 3-6.
After a week-long layoff, STMA faced Tartan at home, looking to get back on track. Tartan’s Zach Ledman led things off with an even-strength goal about six minutes into the game (Zach Wydra, Brady O’Sullivan). The next Tartan score came on a power play goal by Rusty Axtman (Ledman, O’Sullivan).
STMA had good chances, but failed to cut into the lead through most of the first 34 minutes. Tartan took the opportunity and added two more goals to its lead. Brandon Ayde scored the first (even strength, Eric Geskermann) and Ledman scored the second (even strength, Axtman).
Trailing 4-0 late in the period, the Knights finally registered a Brett Marshall goal (even strength, Mitch Bourgerie, Tucker Bjorlin). Less than a minute later, Connor Smith scored an unassisted goal to cut the lead in half. Going into the third period, the Knights trailed 4-2.
The Knights switched out goaltenders after Tartan grabbed a four goal lead, and Kyle Haden delivered, stopping every shot that came his way. The Knights got one more goal late in the third period from Logan Nelson (even strength, Tyler Hayes, Connor Spetz). The final 1:09 proved very hectic, but Tartan hung on for a one goal victory.
Head coach Jerr Johnson was disappointed in the loss, but he admired the way his team battled back after falling down 4-0.
“I’m happy with the fact that we continued to compete,” he said. He singled out Connor Smith, whose goal was the first of his career.
He was also pleased with how the team responded to the goalie change.
“Kyle came in and played really well, and continued to give us a chance to win,” he said.
Sartell-St. Stephen was the next opponent for a Knights team trying to right the ship. However, just like Tartan, Sartell scored the first two goals. After the first ten minutes, Keenan Lund gave Sartell the lead (even strength, Kyle Erickson, Cullen Chisholm).
In the second period, Sartell added to the lead on an Aaron Randall goal (even strength, Spencer Zwiener, Bret Thompson). The Knights answered late in the period on a Tucker Bjorlin power play goal (Connor Spetz, Mitch Bourgerie).
In the third, Zwiener scored to make it 3-1 (Ben Rengel, Randall). Matthew Ringhand scored a shorthanded goal to make it 4-1 (Matthew Bakken). Bjorlin scored his second of the game to cap the scoring as the Knights fell 4-2 (Marshall, Kyle Hayden).
Kyle Hayden made the start in net for the Knights and faced 24 shots, stopping 20 of them.
Coach Johnson said the team wanted to get off to a quick start, which did not happen. He felt they played well and competed, just did not get the result they wanted.
The Knights hockey team plays in a tournament later this week. The team has lost four straight games.