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Knights hockey survives final minutes in Princeton

By Jake Schroer, 01/16/14, 12:30PM CST


STMA’s Connor Spetz handles the puck near the Princeton goal (Photo by Jake Schroer)

STMA’s Connor Spetz handles the puck near the Princeton goal (Photo by Jake Schroer)

After another lengthy layoff, the Knights hockey team met the Princeton Tigers on the road in a conference showdown.

The Knights looked to climb to .500 on the season with a victory. Princeton got on the board first when Tyler McAlpine scored on an assist from Cam Paulson. After that, the Knights came back with a vengeance.

About a minute after Princeton’s goal, Connor Smith tied the game with one of his own (Connor Greenwood). A short time later, Connor Spetz gave STMA the lead (Casey Crandall, Mitch Bourgerie). Bourgerie added the third goal of the period for the Knights, who led 3-1 after one (Spetz).

Princeton cut into the lead early in period two on Jake Green’s power play goal (McAlpine). But the Knights responded with a goal by Eric Sjelin (Smith). At the end of two periods of play, the Knights held a two goal lead.

Head coach Jerr Johnson referred to the old hockey saying that a two goal lead is one of the toughest to protect. In the third period, things started well enough for the Knights, who held the Tigers in check for most of the final frame.

Things got hectic in the last few minutes after Princeton’s Silas Reek cut the lead to one (Jake Green, Justin Carlson). Princeton even appeared to tie the game, but the Tigers knocked the net out of place and knocked goaltender Kyle Haden down, therefore the officials disallowed the goal.

When the smoke cleared, the Knights left the ice with a 4-3 victory. The win pushed STMA’s record to 6-6-1.

Coach Johnson said his team did a good job of responding throughout the game. The 14 day layoff, he said, did not hurt the Knights.

“For that long a layoff, I thought we had a good start, and fortunately we came out with the win.”

Coach Johnson also mentioned Kyle Haden’s success.

“He had some big saves down the stretch.”

STMA has now won three games in a row. The Knights played at East Ridge on Tuesday. They play at St. Francis tonight and host Rogers at 7 p.m. on the evening of Hockey Day Minnesota.