Jerame Schuetzle scored both goals for Bison
Junior Brady Mick makes a big 2nd period glove save. Mick stopped 35 of 37 shots in the game and frustrated Buffalo's top players.
Junior Ben Zitur stretches to stop a Warrior attacker.
They say the most important position in hockey is goaltending.
Brainerd junior goalie Brady Mick stopped 35 of 37 shots leading No. 5-seeded Brainerd to a 5-2 upset over No. 4 seed Buffalo in a Section 8AA quarterfinal game on Tuesday, Feb. 17 in Buffalo.
Despite trailing 1-0 after one period, Brainerd head coach Dave Aus said the team was feeling pretty good about themselves in the locker room. The Bison peppered Mick for 18 shots while only allowing three. The only goal to beat Mick was a pretty feed from sophomore Tom Rooney that sent senior winger Jerame Schuetzle alone on a breakaway. Schuetzle eventually deked the goaltender for a 1-0 advantage.
“Mick is probably the best goalie I’ve ever had,” said Aus, who spent the previous 14 years coaching at Blaine, prior to taking the Warrior head coaching job last fall. Brainerd has former NHL goaltender Glenn “Chico” Resch as their goalie coach. “After the first period, we told our guys that Buffalo just gave us our best shot and we weathered the storm. If we could get a goal, we knew it would be a tight game.”
Buffalo head coach Aaron Johnson was pleased with the first period, but knew that his team was running into a hot goalie.
“He played well. He made some big saves,” Johnson said. “One thing I noticed was he was quick side-to-side. He was out challenging us and it seemed like a lot of our shots were into his belly because of that. He gave his team time to settle in.”
Johnson also knew his team had to deal with some adversity when senior winger James McNamara left the game after separating his shoulder late in period one.
“Losing James in the first was key,” Johnson said. “He’s a heart-and-soul guy, and we lost that.”
The second period started out much like the first. Buffalo fired four shots on goal, but Mick again was up to the challenge. Brainerd eventually tied the game 1-1 at the 7:56 mark of period two on the first of two goals scored by senior captain Matt Casperson. Aus said a set play they used in Blaine off an offensive-zone faceoff was worked to perfection.
Shortly after, the Warriors took the lead for good when Ted Nelson broke free from center ice and buried a shot past Bison senior goalie Ben Zitur. Even though the shots were 29-12 in favor of Buffalo, it was the Warriors leading 2-1 in the stat that mattered most.
The momentum turned for good at the start of the third period when Buffalo failed to capitalize on a two-man, power-play advantage that carried over from the end of period two.
“That hurt us,” said Bison senior captain Gunnar Goodmanson, who was held pointless for only the third time in 22 games played this season. “We weren’t able to bear down. I don’t know what it was, but we didn’t play like we usually play. We didn’t need what we needed to bring to win a section playoff game.”
Shortly after killing off two big penalties, Brainerd (9-16-1 overall) took advantage of a turnover and Casperson gave the Warriors a 3-1 lead just seconds after getting back to even strength. The lead was extended to 4-1 on the first of two third-period goals by Adam Fischer. Squeezed between a pair of Fischer goals was Schuetle’s second goal of the game and 22nd of the season. Schuetzle finished second on the Bison in scoring with 42 points. Only Goodmanson scored more this season with 50 points.
After leading the Mississippi 8 in scoring a second consecutive year, Goodmanson was the obvious focal point from Brainerd’s perspective.
“We had Tori Miller shadow him all game,” Aus said. “We felt if we could take Goodmanson out of the game we could have a chance. I don’t think he touched the puck a whole lot tonight. Tori did a good job.”
As a result, Goodmanson was dropped off his usual line of Schuetzle and senior Jake Ramsey to try and open up other options.
“We tried some new things at Chisago Lakes (a 6-1 road victory on Saturday, Feb. 14) and switched some lines around a bit,” Johnson said. “I think it did help. It kept them from keying on all three of our top guys. They were hard on Gunnar all night, but it did free up Jerame and Jake a bit to have a little more success.”
The loss ends the season for the Bison, who finished 15-11 overall and second in the Mississippi 8 conference with a 10-2 mark. The home playoff game was the first since Feb. 24, 2009. Ironically, that game was also against Brainerd, but with a much different result as Buffalo won 6-2. That victory still remains the last time the Bison have won a playoff game.
“I owe a lot of my success the past couple years to my teammates and coaches,” Goodmanson said. “They always pushed me to do my best. I’m going to miss playing with those guys.”
Buffalo 5, Brainerd 1
(Wednesday, Feb. 17 at Buffalo)
Warriors 0 2 3 - 5
Bison 1 0 1 - 2
First period: B – Jerame Schuetzle (Tom Rooney) 13:52.
Second period: BR - Matt Casperson (Josh Howieson, Landon Rivard) 7:56; BR - Ted Nelson (unassisted) 12:26.
Third period: BR - Casperson (unassisted) 1:42; BR - Adam Fischer (unassisted) 6:39; B - Schuetzle (Jake Ramsey) 7:45; BR - Fischer (Tori Miller, Howieson) 9:02, PP;
BRD – Brady Mick (win) 37 shots, 35 saves;
BUF – Ben Zitur (loss) 18 shots, 13 saves.
BRD – 3-9-6 – 18; BUF – 18-11-8 – 37;
Power Plays: BRD – 1-3; BUF – 0-5.
Buffalo 6, Chisago Lakes 1
(Saturday, Feb. 14 at STMA)
Bison 5 0 1 - 6
Wildcats 1 0 0 - 1
First period: B – Nick Mueller (Tim Pearson) 1:08; B – Jake Ramsey (Reed Morehouse, Kevin Kemp) 4:16; B – James McNamara (unassisted) 4:25; B – Cade Stensby (Noah VanderKooi, Kemp) 5:47; B – Schuetzle (VanderKooi, Gunnar Goodmanson) 6:44; CL – Nic Bartz (Landon Lushanko, Billy Knaak) 12:38, PP.
Second period: No scoring.
Third period: B – Gavin Welch (Goodmasnon) 9:11.
Goalies: B – Justin Hahnfeldt (win) 17 shots, 16 saves; CL – Jake Dubose (loss) 33 shots, 27 saves. Shots: B – 12-10-11 – 33; CL – 9-3-5 – 17; Power Plays: B – 0-3; CL – 1-6.
Buffalo senior Jake Ramsey’s point-blank opportunity in the second period is stopped by Brainerd junior goalie Brady Mick. The Bison were upset 5-2 at home to Brainerd in the opening round of the Section 8AA playoffs. (Photo by Rob LaPlante)
Gunnar Goodmanson was shadowed all game by Brainerd's, 9, Tori Miller.