Co-captain Wilson Anderle had a strong tournament for the Bison.
The Buffalo Bison traveled to Duluth’s Heritage Sport Center for the Duluth Denfeld Holiday Classic tournament. The varsity Bison went 1-2 during the tournament while JV went 2-1 and claimed the third place trophy.
The Bison opened the tournament with an important section 8AA match-up versus Bemidji High School. The Lumberjacks played a strong defense-first style game and stifled the Bison offense. The Lumberjacks defensive structure and shot blocking thwarted the Bison attack, limiting both shots on goal and quality scoring chances.
Bemidji’s Jake Leitner scored midway through the second period for a 1-0 lead. That score held until Buffalo’s senior co-captain Wilson Anderle scored on a juicy rebound to tie the game and force overtime.
But just 17 seconds into the 4-on-4 overtime play the Lumberjacks’ Leitner beat goalie Mikey Otten for the 2-1 victory. Otten made 29 saves in the game.
Coach Aaron Johnson was happy with the effort but had his concerns, “we worked extremely hard, we just did not play with enough skill to beat their strong defensive discipline and effort. We needed to generate more pucks to the net and find rebounds and score dirty goals.”
Bemidji Pioneers coverage of the game can be found here.
Playing in the consolation bracket, BHS next faced-off with the St. Louis Park Orioles. Coach Johnson juggled the forward lines in an effort to produce more scoring. The mixing of the forwards produced 40 shots on goal but the game remained tight throughout. In the first period, the Bison surrendered the first goal but Anderle made his mark again. Anderle scored a power-play goal to tie the game 1-1.
The second period saw leading scorer Gunnar Goodmanson break out of his mini scoring slump as he converted a 2-on-1 with a lucky bounce to give BHS the lead. Junior Jerame Schuetzle added a tally six minutes later to extend the lead.
Goodmanson closed out the scoring with an empty net goal and secured the victory. Otten made 23 saves and earned his seventh victory.
Assistant Coach Rory Dynan, who runs forwards during games, was happy with the results. “They responded really well to the line juggling and the challenge of playing a complete game. We really hope that the good habits can carry over.”
In the consolation championship, BHS played the Apple Valley Eagles. In a very even match-up, the Eagles converted their scoring chances whereas the Bison remained snake-bitten.
The Eagles jumped out to a 2-0 lead before junior Jake Ramsey scored to pull within a goal six minutes into the third period. But the Eagles Logan Kohorst beat Otten and stymied the Bison comeback. Kohorst added an empty netter and to win 4-1.
Coach Johnson echoed his feelings from the opening game of the tourney. “We just didn’t make enough plays with the puck and definitely did not score enough to win. On the positive, our defensemen played well despite playing with only four skaters.”
Next up for Buffalo is the Irondale Knights.