A 3-2 conference road win Thursday, Dec. 17 at St. Francis proved at the time to be huge for the Buffalo boys’ hockey team.
Not only did it keep the Bison in line for a shot at winning their first Mississippi 8 title in three years, but it proved even larger when the Fighting Saints upset St. Michael-Albertville on Saturday, Dec. 19 by the same score.
STMA, Buffalo and Princeton all came into Saturday’s play undefeated in the conference. That being said, nobody on the Bison squad is scoreboard watching, yet.
“We haven’t looked that far ahead,” said Bison head coach Aaron Johnson. “We are just focusing on getting better each day, and playing at the level we have established in our game the last three weeks.”
After trailing 1-0 after one period, Buffalo rallied against St. Francis thanks to a five-minute major penalty called against St. Francis’ Austin Schuhmacher.
Michael Sawdey looks to move the puck against M8 rival Rogers
“Our first period was pretty flat,” Johnson said. “We had a really good start in the second and earned the major call.”
Buffalo took advantage of the situation and scored twice with the extended power play.
Bison junior Stone Goodmanson tied the score 1-1 with his third goal of the season at the 4:54 mark with the man advantage. Senior captain Brady Hartman made it 2-1 on the same power play at the 7:52 mark. Senior captain Michael Sawdey and junior Carter Patnode assisted on Goodmanson’s goal, and senior captain Kevin Kemp assisted on Hartman’s goal.
St. Francis stole some of the momentum back late in the penalty. Reese Kaehler’s second goal of the game tied the score 2-2 at the 8:48 mark while shorthanded.
Junior Blake Habisch would notch his first goal of the season, with an assist from senior Noah VanderKooi and junior Luke Ramsey, at the 15:37 mark of period two. Habisch’s even-strength goal proved to be the game winner.
“It was good to see Blake score his first of the year,” Johnson said. “Coming off a whole year missed, he is still getting adjusted to varsity hockey, and having to play against teams top lines.”
The Bison’s unbeaten streak of four games (3-0-1) ended with a 2-1 loss Saturday, Dec. 19 at Wayzata.
Junior Cade Stensby’s goal 3:56 into the first period gave Buffalo an early lead and tons of momentum against the No. 6 rated team in Class AA. Ironically, the undefeated streak also included a road victory Dec. 8 against the No. 6 rated squad in Class A, Delano.
“We talked before the game that we had to believe we could play with Wayzata,” Johnson said. “I think our early goal justified that for the kids and gave us confidence that we could compete against a team like them.”
Wayzata’s Grant Anderson tied the score 1-1 late in period one. The first period ended dead even on the scoreboard and in shots, 8-8.
Wayzata would control the tempo of the contest from the second period on. The Trojans outshot Buffalo 21-3 in the final two periods. The only goal during they could muster past Bison senior goalie Ben Zitur came at the 14:38 mark of period two by Amar Batra, which proved to be the winner.
“Ben played well,” Johnson said. “He made all of the saves he should have, and we did a nice job of not giving up very many quality scoring chances.”
Buffalo suffered its first conference loss of the season in a 3-2 overtime defeat Tuesday, Dec. 22 at Rogers.
Buffalo grabbed a 2-0 first period advantage on goals by Hartman and Goodmanson. The lead held up until Jordan Fischer cut the lead in half at the 6:35 mark of period three for Rogers. Vinny Billing would tie the score 2-2, and ended it at 6:24 in overtime.
Buffalo 3, St. Francis 2
(Thursday, Dec. 17 at Buffalo)
Bison 0 3 0 - 3
Fighting Saints 1 1 0 - 2
First period: SF -- Reese Kaehler (Austin Schumacher) 8:48.
Second period: B -- Stone Goodmanson (Michael Sawdey, Carter Patnode) PP, 4:54; B -- Brady Hartman (Kevin Kemp) PP, 7:52; SF -- Kaehler (Travis Carroll) SH, 8:48; B -- Blake Habisch (Noah VanderKooi, Luke Ramsey) 15:37.
Third period: No scoring.
Goalies: B – Ben Zitur (win) 25 shots, 23 saves; SF – Trent Lobeck (loss) 26 shots, 23 saves. Shots: B – 6-16-4 – 26; SF – 10-4-11 – 25. Power Plays: B – 2-4; SF – 0-3.
Wayzata 2, Buffalo 1
(Saturday, Dec. 19 at Plymouth)
Bison 1 0 0 - 1
Trojans 1 1 0 - 2
First period: B -- Cade Stensby, 3:56; W -- Grant Anderson (Matt Nelson, Jack Carlson) 13:51.
Second period: W -- Amar Batra (Dillon Riley, Mark Senden) 14:38.
Third period: No scoring.
Goalies: B – Ben Zitur (loss) 29 shots, 27 saves; W – Reid Waszczenko (win) 11 shots, 10 saves. Shots: B – 8-2-1 – 11; W – 8-13-8 – 29. Power Plays: B – 0-2; W – 0-2.
Rogers 3, Buffalo 2, OT
(Tuesday, Dec. 22 at Rogers)
Bison 2 0 0 0 - 2
Royals 0 0 2 1 - 3
First period: B -- Brady Hartman (Kevin Kemp, Nick Hanson) 3:19; B -- Stone Goodmanson (Michael Sawdey, Jon Pearson) 16:21.
Second period: No scoring.
Third period: R -- Jordan Fischer (Dustin Schoepke, Nolan Walker) 6:35; R -- Vinny Billing (Dustin Schoepke) 8:24.
Overtime: Vinny Billing (Jake Moss, Dustin Schoepke) PP, 6:24.
Goalies: B – Ben Zitur (loss) 34 shots, 31 saves; R – Jonny Preusse (win) 44 shots, 42 saves. Shots: B – 34; R – 44. Power Plays: B – 0-1; R – 1-2.