Sophomore Joe McNamara registered a three point game (2g, 1a) at Chisago Lakes in the Bison's victory.
Bison own conference-best 6-1 record
By Rob LaPlante
Buffalo’s pursuit of winning its first Mississippi 8 boys’ hockey championship in four seasons, and fifth overall, increased by three wins the past week.
A stretch of four games against conference opponents started with a 3-0 home shutout last Jan. 5 over St. Francis. Buffalo’s win streak was extended to four straight games following a 9-1 home win Thursday, Jan. 12 over Cambridge-Isanti, a 6-1 road victory Saturday, Jan. 14 over Chisago Lakes, and a 3-0 shutout road win Tuesday night at North Branch.
All four teams, along with the other five Mississippi 8 schools, currently are looking up to Buffalo (6-1 M8) in the conference standings.
Chisago Lakes was only two points behind the Bison prior to Buffalo’s win last Saturday over the Wildcats.
“We thought it was nice to have a little stretch of teams that we could gain some confidence,” said Bison senior Blake Habisch.
Sophomore defenseman Joe McNamara had a memorable game against Chisago Lakes. Trailing 1-0, he assisted on senior Cade Stensby’s game-tying goal at 13:44 of period one. He scored the eventual game-winning goal just 28 seconds into period two.
Habisch, and seniors Luke Ramsey and Nick Mueller made it 5-1. McNamara added his second goal and third point of the night at 12:09 of period three on a power play.
McNamara came into the contest with no goals and four assists through the first 15 games.
“It feels good to start contributing, especially this time of the year when winning is key,” McNamara said.
Habisch contributed a goal and two assists to extend his point-scoring streak to five games. His 3-point effort came on the heels of a 5-point game in Buffalo’s 9-1 home victory last Thursday over Cambridge-Isanti.
In the process, he registered his first career varsity hat trick, while assisting on two others. Rooney added four assists.
Leading 5-0 after two periods against the Jackets, Bison sophomore goalie Nathan Mueller needed to make only seven saves before giving way to sophomore River Goodmanson to start the third period.
It was Goodmanson’s first career varsity appearance, and first time this season someone other than Mueller has played between the pipes.
“We thought it was a good opportunity for River,” Habisch said. “Anytime you can get the younger guys in, it’s fun. When I was a sophomore, getting that chance to play was a great feeling, so we were happy for him.”
Goodmanson faced only four shots in the third period, but the fourth shot spoiled Buffalo’s shutout bid with only 10 seconds left in regulation.
The Bison earned their fourth team shutout in Tuesday’s 3-0 road victory over North Branch.
Mueller recorded 28 saves to earn his fourth shutout, tying him with Alex Rixe for the second most in a season. Mike Downer hold the record with seven, which he accomplished twice.
After a scoreless first period, Habisch extended his scoring streak to six games with his 13th goal of the season at 2:57 of the second period. Senior Jon Pearson and Rooney assisted on the goal. Rooney and junior Ben Lindvall each had a goal and an assist in the win. Lindvall’s tally came at 4:54 of period three, and was his first career varsity goal. Senior Connor Kuhlmann got the helper.
Buffalo (10-7-0 overall) has four conference games remaining, including a home date Feb. 11 against St. Michael-Albertville.
Not looking too far ahead, McNamara knows that date with STMA will be a big one.
“The boys know that if we keep playing the way we are, the title will probably be decided when we play St. Michael,” McNamara said. “I think everyone in the locker room has the title in our sights, and everyone has bought in that we have the team to do it. STMA will be a huge game, but right now we are taking it one game at a time.”
Buffalo 9, Cambridge-Isanti 1
(Thursday, Jan. 12 at Buffalo)
Bluejackets 0 0 1 - 1
Bison 2 3 4 - 9
First period: B -- John McNamara (Stone Goodmanson, Ben Klein) 2:14; B -- Luke Ramsey (Tom Rooney) 2:55.
Second period: B -- Blake Habisch (Rooney) 0:47; B -- Cade Stensby (unassisted) 15:23; B -- Jon Pearson (unassisted) 16:50.
Third period: B -- Habisch (Rooney, Nick Mueller) 0:19; B -- Mueller (unassisted) 1:08; B -- Stensby (Connor Kuhlmann, Mateo Johnson) 5:22; B -- Habisch (Rooney, Jack Stevens) 15:12; CI -- Luke Miller (Peyton Treichel) 16:50.
Goalies: CI – Logan Hyland (loss) 45 shots, 36 saves; B -- Nathan Mueller (win) 7 shots, 7 saves; River Goodmanson 4 shots, 3 saves. Shots: CI – 5-2-4 – 11; B – 13-15-17 – 45. Power Plays: CI – 0-1; B – 0-1.
Buffalo 6, Chisago Lakes 1
(Saturday, Jan. 14 at Chisago Lakes)
Bison 1 3 2 - 6
Wildcats 1 0 0 - 1
First period: CL -- Andrue Trelstad (Thomas Overgaard, Severi Sinkonnen) PP, 4:50; B -- Cade Stensby (Joe McNamara) 13:44.
Second period: B -- Joe McNamara (Blake Habisch) 0:28; B -- Habisch (Luke Ramsey) 6:07; B -- Ramsey (Tom Rooney, Stensby) PP, 12:13.
Third period: B -- Nick Mueller (Habisch) 0:37; B -- Joe McNamara (Ben Klein, Jon Pearson) PP, 12:09.
Goalies: B – Nathan Mueller (win) 17 shots, 16 saves; CL -- Jesse Carlson (loss) 23 shots, 17 saves. Shots: B – 7-9-7 – 23; CL – 4-8-5 – 17. Power Plays: B – 2-5; CL – 1-9.
Buffalo 3, North Branch 0
(Tuesday, Jan. 17 at Chisago Lakes)
Bison 0 2 1 - 3
Vikings 0 0 0 - 0
First period: No scoring.
Second period: B -- Blake Habisch (Jon Pearson, Tom Rooney) 2:57; B -- Rooney (Ben Lindvall) 6:00.
Third period: B -- Lindvall (Connor Kuhlmann) 4:54.
Goalies: B – Nathan Mueller (win) 28 shots, 28 saves; NB -- Trevor Mellen (loss) 30 shots, 37 saves. Shots: B – 13-20-7 – 40; NB – 5-9-14 – 28. Power Plays: B – 0-1; NB – 0-3.