Squeezed between two losses to ranked Class A schools, the Buffalo boys’ hockey squad won their second game of the season in a 4-1 home win last Saturday, Dec. 10 over St. Cloud Tech/Apollo.
Trailing 1-0 after one period, Bison seniors Luke Ramsey and Cade Stensby each scored in the second period. Seniors Tom Rooney and Blake Habisch added third-period insurance goals.
Stensby and Rooney each finished with a goal and an assist. Sophomore Nathan Mueller made 17 saves on 18 shots to record the win in goal.
“We did a really good job of shutting down their top scorers,” Stensby said.
Squeezed between the St. Cloud win was a 3-2 road defeat last Thursday, Dec. 8 at Monticello/Annandale/Maple Lake (MAML).
The Moose built a 3-0 lead after two periods. Senior Casey Chiodo opened the scoring at 14:24 of the first period. Junior Ben Ward added a pair of second period goals extending the Moose’s lead to 3-0.
After outshooting the Bison 25-19 through two periods, MAML withstood a third-period barrage that saw Buffalo outshoot the Moose 25-3.
An even bigger test from Class A came five nights later when undefeated and No. 1 ranked Delano improved to 5-0-0 with a convincing 8-2 road win Tuesday, Dec. 13 over Buffalo (2-4-0).
The Tigers have outscored opponents 41-8 in five games, and leading scorer, senior Ben Meyers added to his already monster start with two goals and two assists.
Meyers leads the state in scoring through five games with 28 points (10 goals, 18 assists). The first of his two assists against Buffalo came two minutes into the opening period on a goal scored by his senior line-mate John Keranen.
Junior Gabe Halonen scored shortly after to make it 2-0. Buffalo cut the lead in half at 8:34 on senior Luke Ramsey’s goal. But the third member of Delano’s top line made it 3-1 on a shorthanded tally at 10:36 by senior Brian Halonen. The Tigers countinued to pepper the net with three more goals in period two and two in the final stanza.
The line of John Keranen, Meyers, and Halonen has accounted for an astonishing 68 combined points through five games.
“Their first group is probably the toughest line I’ve coached against,” Johnson said. “They are all very skilled, smart, unselfish, and they play off each other very well. It’s pretty impressive the way they are playing.”
“We just struggled shutting them down,” Stensby said. “We can skate with them, but mental lapses got the best of us.”
Two of the three players are Division-I recruits. Meyers is committed to Maine and Halonen to Michigan Tech.
Delano head coach Gerrit van Bergen is happy to have all three back for their senior season.
“They had opportunities this year to play elsewhere, but they chose to be here their senior years and play with their buddies they grew up with,” van Bergen said.
He also knows they came into this game motivated following a 3-2 home loss they suffered to the Bison Dec. 8 of last year.
“This was our most physical game so far,” van Bergen said. “I think that speaks about these guys feeling we let one get away to them last year. Buffalo is a good team and they have excellent coaches. I think that motivated them to perform the way they did.”
On a night that ended with mostly Delano highlights, a late goal scored by sophomore Treyton Welch was his first of his varsity career.
Senior Mateo Johnson assisted on Welch’s tally after firing a shot from the faceoff circle that Welch slammed home the rebound.
“Unless you’re Delano’s top line, it’s kind of a simple formula where you have to get bodies and pucks to the net,” Johnson said. “Good things happen when you do that.”
Buffalo is at St. Michael-Albertville on Saturday, Dec. 17 with an 8 p.m. puck drop.
MAML 3, Buffalo 2
(Thursday, Dec. 8 at Monticello)
Bison 1 0 2 - 2
Moose 1 2 0 - 3
First period: MAML -- Casey Chiodo (Honza Stibingr) 14:24.
Second period: MAML -- Ben Ward (Chiodo, Stibingr) PP, 5:42; MAML -- Ward (Nick Zwack) 16:47.
Third period: B -- Cade Stensby (unassisted) 12:36; B -- Stensby (Nick Mueller) 16:48.
Goalies: B – Nathan Mueller (loss) 28 shots, 25 saves; MAML – Tyler Klatt (win) 44 shots, 42 saves. Shots: B – 8-11-25– 44; MAML – 9-16-3 – 28. Power Plays: B – 0-1; MAML – 1-2.
Buffalo 4, St. Cloud 1
(Saturday, Dec. 10 at Buffalo)
St. Cloud 1 0 0 - 1
Bison 0 2 2 - 4
First period: STC -- Keaton Skaja (Nick Portz) 0:44.
Second period: B -- Luke Ramsey (Cade Stensby) 10:21; B -- Stensby (unassisted) SH, 16:15.
Third period: B -- Tom Rooney (unassisted) 11:57; Blake Habisch (Nick Mueller, Rooney) PP, 12:09.
Goalies: STC – Soren Falloon (loss) 17 shots, 13 saves; B – Nathan Mueller (win) 18 shots, 17 saves. Shots: STC – 7-4-7– 18; B – 5-6-6 – 17. Power Plays: STC – 0-1; B – 1-2.
Delano 8, Buffalo 2
(Tuesday, Dec. 13 at Buffalo)
Tigers 3 3 2 - 8
Bison 1 0 1 - 2
First period: D -- John Keranen (Ben Meyers, Ray Heikkila) 2:00; D -- Gabe Halonen (Andrew Kruse) 5:26; B -- Luke Ramsey (Stone Goodmanson, Jon Pearson) 10:34; D -- Brian Halonen (unassisted) SH, 12:36.
Second period: D -- J. Keranen (Meyers, Nick Schreyer) 1:14; D -- Meyers (J. Keranen, Screyer) 9:01; D -- Meyers (B. Halonen) 11:20.
Third period: D -- G. Halonen (Justin Daly) 5:32; B -- Treyton Welch (Mateo Johnson) 11:14; D -- B. Halonen (Meyers) SH, 13:26.
Goalies: D – Erik Peterson (win) 21 shots, 19 saves; B – Nathan Mueller (loss) 34 shots, 26 saves. Shots: D – 8-17-9–34; B – 9-5-7–21. Power Plays: D – 0-3; B – 0-4.