Nick Austin's second goal in as many games proved to be the game winner versus Blaine.
ST. LOUIS PARK, Minn. -- Benilde-St. Margaret's found itself in an unusual position early in the second period.
When Alex Penn skated from behind his own net, up the left side of the rink and then cut to the net for a short-handed goal, just two minutes, 45 seconds into the middle frame, the Red Knights trailed 3-0 and head coach Ken Pauly called a time out to rally his troops.
It took just 49 seconds for the hosts to convert on the same power-play and it began a four-goal rally which saw BSM remain unbeaten with an 8-0-0 record as the Red Knights handed fourth-ranked Blaine a 4-3 defeat.
With his team scoring on three of its first 11 shots, while facing 18 shots himself, Blaine goalie Ridge Gerards enabled his team to take the three goal lead.
The Bengals scored on two of their first four shots, getting a goal five minutes, 16 seconds into the game from Riley Tufte, his 14th in seven games this season, and another from Griffin Fussy with 2:34 to play in the opening frame.
"You have to tip your cap to the him," Pauly said of Gerards. "We could have had six or more goals tonight. He made several key saves."
On the other end, Red Knight goalie Ryan Bischel struggled early but would go onto stop the last 18 shots he faced, 16 of which came in the game's final period, eight of which were on the power play.
"After a rough start, Bischel really rallied," Pauly said. "He continues to get stronger as the game moves forward."
As Bischel rallied, so did his team.
Just 49 seconds after Penn's short-handed goal, Connor Mayer converted on the power play and, less than three minutes later, Cade Gleekel passed the puck out of the left corner to Zach Risteau, who stepped around a Blaine defenseman and cut the lead to one with his fifth goal of the year.
Just 34 seconds into the third period, with the teams skating 4-on-4, BSM caught a break when Jacob Holmers broke his stick on a shot from the right but the bouncing puck got away from Gerards and Jerry Calengor snuck in from the right side to bang home the tying goal.
The game-winning goal came barely four minutes later when Mayer picked up a puck in the left corner, skated behind the net and into the right circle before passing to Nick Austin at the right point. Austin's shot then found its way through traffic and into the top of the Blaine goal for the hosts' first lead of the game.
The game, though, was far from over. Three penalties in the game's final 12 minutes would give the Bengals plenty of opportunities, including a 1:39 stretch of 5-on-3 power-play time in which they registered five shots on goal and 10 attempts, three of which were blocked by Calengor.
The first of the two penalties which provided the 5-on-3 power play was BSM's third penalty of game, and sixth of the season, for too many men on the ice.
"Receiving three bench minors for too many men on the ice is unacceptable," Pauly said. "That's bench management and awareness and I take responsibility for it. It simply can't happen again."
His team managed to kill all five Blaine power-play chances using some dogged work from its penalty killers and several key saves by Bischel.
Despite some of the struggles of his team, which is now 8-0-0 for the first time in its 11 years as a Class AA program, Pauly was happy with the way his team played after falling behind.
"We are thrilled with some of the hockey our guys played tonight," he said. "We moved the puck well and it was fun to watch."
The win was also the team's fourth against a team ranked in the top four of the state's Class AA rankings and third in its last four games.
The Red Knights will look to continue their winning ways when they wrap up their four-game homestand, Friday, by hosting No. 19 Moorhead in a 7 p.m. game at the SLP Rec Center.
Complete statistics for tonight's game can be found here.
Tag(s): Benilde-St. Margaret's