A regulation game in high school hockey is 51 minutes. The Buffalo boys’ hockey team dominated all 51 of them in a season-opening 5-0 road win Tuesday, Nov. 29 at Osseo.
Prior to Tuesday’s win, Osseo and Buffalo have opened the season the past three years, with the Orioles going 2-0-1 over that span.
Buffalo seniors came out determined to change that trend. First-period goals by Blake Habisch, Connor Kuhlmann, and Tom Rooney – all seniors, gave the Bison a 3-0 lead and a 19-2 shot advantage after one period.
“We have a lot of seniors and they came out and set the tone,” said head coach Aaron Johnson. “Osseo is in a transition year. Being a veteran team, our guys came out and did what we were supposed to do to them. I’m proud of them for that.”
Rooney would later score his second of the game making it 5-0 at 13:10 of period three.
“We worked really hard for this win,” Rooney said. “Things were just clicking. All the lines were rolling. It was a fun game to play in.”
Squeezed between Rooney’s goals was the first career goal from sophomore forward Ben Klein, who buried home a loose puck to the left of Osseo goalie Jordan Mazzitelli.
If not for Mazzitelli, Buffalo easily could have had double digits in the goal column.
This Bison outshot Osseo 49-15 for the contest. They won the special teams battle as well. Power-play tallies came from Habsich and Klein. Osseo was 0-3 with the man advantage, including two in period three.
After facing just five shots through two periods, sophomore goalie Nathan Mueller was finally tested in period three facing 10 shots.
Mueller’s first career win and first shutout wasn’t too big of a surprise.
“We’ve seen Nathan a lot over the summer,” Johnson said. “He’s a very calm-collective goalie. He’s going to be very good for us this year. Tonight was the first step for him.”
What impressed Johnson most was what plagued the team a few times a year ago.
“We played really competitive and hard,” Johnson said. “Sometimes in games like this you get away from doing those things. Kids try and take shortcuts. But for 51 minutes, we did a nice job of playing the style we want to play.”
Buffalo will have a big test this weekend when they hit the road against two top section opponents. The Bison are at Bemidji on Friday, Dec. 2 at 7:30 p.m. The following night they have a 6 p.m. tilt at Moorhead.
Buffalo 5, Osseo 0
(Tuesday, Nov. 29 at Osseo)
Bison 3 2 0 - 5
Orioles 0 0 0 - 0
First period: B -- Blake Habisch (Stone Goodmanson) PP, 6:35; B -- Connor Kuhlmann (John McNamara) 9:26; B -- Tom Rooney (Habsich, Jack Stevens) 13:01.
Second period: B -- Ben Klein (Nick Hanson, John McNamara) PP, 9:21; B -- Rooney (Nick Mueller) 13:10.
Third period: No scoring.
Goalies: B – Nathan Mueller (win) 15 shots, 15 saves; O – Jordan Mazzitelli (loss) 49 shots, 44 saves. Shots: B – 19-16-14 – 49; O – 2-3-10 – 15. Power Plays: B – 2-5; O – 0-3.