A two-goal second period helped Breck (6-3, 1-0) down Buffalo 2-1 in the Schwan’s Cup Silver Division semifinals Friday night at the Schwan Super Rink in Blaine.
The Mustangs, ranked No. 4 in Class 1A according to the state coaches’ polls, controlled much of play in the first period. Buffalo (5-6, 2-1) goalie Nathan Mueller stopped all nine first-period shots and kept the Bison in the game much of the night, but a pair of goals in the second period was enough to push Breck to the tournament’s championship game.
“We’re starting to learn how to win,” Breck coach Les Larson said. “We’re doing the little things better than what we’ve been doing.”
Those little things — getting pucks in deep, controlling the puck with purpose, blocking shots — paid dividends for the Mustangs. The first goal was created when Mitch Machlitt deflected a Buffalo pass to Will Torgenson, then caught the puck in the slot and fired in a goal.
Less than two minutes later, Mustangs forward Grant Parrish knocked home a rebound for a 2-0 lead.
Speed was on Breck’s side. The Mustangs’ transitions through the neutral zone were quick all night, creating a number of odd-man rushes. That’s credit to what Larson considers fast, up-tempo practices.
“If I were to go in (to Breck’s locker room) and say, ‘Hey, what’s our calling card?’ they would say speed,” Larson said. “Even the guys that aren’t fast, they think they’re fast. It’s mental.”
The Bison had a third-period power play, but were unable to put together a scoring combination. Mueller, who made 26 saves, made sure the Mustangs didn’t run up the score during dominant Breck’s second and third periods.
“We had to get a lot of shots. He played really well tonight,” Machlitt said of the Bison's goalie.
The Mustangs will play for the Silver Division championship, against the winner of Mounds View and St. Michael-Albertville, at 3 p.m. Saturday at Ridder Arena.
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