Elk River sophomore Jack Perbix celebrates after scoring his second goal Saturday afternoon at Centennial. Elk River defeated the host Cougars 3-1. Photo by Drew Herron, SportsEngine
Elk River senior defenseman Nick Perbix and Centennial senior forward Matt Jennrich scramble for the puck in the neutral zone. Photo by Drew Herron, SportsEngine
Elk River was collectively frustrated after one period Saturday afternoon at Centennial. The Elks outshot their hosts 14-5 but had nothing to show for it.
It led to introspection in the locker room, and an even hungrier approach to follow.
Midway through the second period, the Elks (4-0) broke down the door when sophomore forward Jack Perbix scored twice in two minutes, giving defensive-minded Elk River all they would need en route to a 3-1 victory over Centennial.
“It’s funny, he came to me after the first period and said he felt like he didn’t have the puck very much,” Elk River coach Ben Gustafson said of Perbix.
“I told him to work harder, and move your feet, and soon enough he found those two goals,” Gustafson said.
The second period tore the game open for the Elks, ranked No. 4-2A by the Let’s Play Hockey coaches’ poll. The two scores from Perbix spotted a lead to a team that hadn’t allowed a goal yet this season, and wouldn’t until the No. 9-2A Cougars’ converted on a power play late in the third.
It ended an impressive string of three shutouts to start the season for senior goalie Ben Meyers.
In front of him, the Elks' defensive core led by senior captains Nick Perbix and Benton Maass continued to log heavy minutes, while keeping things tidy in front of Meyers. The Elks blocked 18 shots in the victory Saturday.
“Centennial is a top 10 team for a reason,” Jack Perbix said. “To get this win is very nice because it was a total team effort. We stick to our gameplan. That means fast, skilled and disciplined,”
The two scores pushed his season total to four goals in four games, along with nine points for the Notre Dame commit.
Elk River showed a stronger commitment to control the slot in the second half and a willingness to play gritty.
“We did a good job of getting to their crease and trying to cause havoc in front of their goalie,” Gustafson said. “We just felt like if we kept at that, and we able to continue getting shots on net, then good things were going to happen.”
Elk River outshot Centennial (3-1) 29-20 for the game, while both teams converted one of three power plays.
For most stretches, Elk River held the edge in possession.
“I thought we did a good job of controlling the game, we had the puck on our stick more,” Gustafson said. “Collectively, our feet were moving, and we played well defensively as a team.”
Elk River pockets this early season Northwest Suburban Conference victory, and shifts its focus towards next weekend’s Edina Holiday Classic at Braemar Arena. It features a round-robin with an ultra-competitive field that includes Edina, Grand Rapids, and Eden Prairie.
Elk River goaltender Ben Meyers stops a Centennial scoring chance in the first period. Photo by Drew Herron, SportsEngine
Jack Perbix scored two second period goals to help drive Elk River past Centennial Saturday afternoon in Circle Pines, 3-1.
Elk River, ranked No. 4-2A by the Let’s Play Hockey coaches’ poll, improves its record to 4-0 with the Northwest Suburban Conference victory.
After a scoreless first period, Perbix broke the stalemate midway through the second when his wrist shot beat Cougars’ goalie Travis Allen on the glove side for a power play goal. A little more than two minutes later, he struck again with an even strength goal to push Elk River to a 2-0 lead.
The Elks had yet to surrender a goal this season until Centennial netted their score in the third period when Carter Wagner scored on the power play for the Cougars. For the season, Elk River has outscored its opponents a combined 30-1.
No. 9-2A Centennial dropped its record to 3-1 on the season with the loss.
Elk River junior forward Connor Bizal finished the game with three assists.
Allen had 26 saves for the Cougars. Elks goalie Ben Meyers stopped 19 of 20 shots.
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