Cool, calm and collective is the way Woodbury goalie Zack Moore approaches each night.
His demeanor helped the Royals with a 5-1 Suburban East Conference (SEC) win against Mounds View on Jan. 15.
Despite having a 2-0 lead in the first, the Mustangs were able to unload 11 shots on net. However, that is exactly what Moore wants in the early stages of the game.
“I like to face some shots early on,” he said. “It helps me get in the flow of the game and I won’t be surprised to see a shot later on in the game.”
There was not the flashy glove save or the diving stop on a back-door one-timer. Moore was sound in net, stopping 23 shots and improved his record to 6-3-0 on the season.
“Everything starts with our goalie,” Royals coach Wes Bolin said. “Zack Moore has been like he was tonight all season. It was another great performance by him where he makes saves and is so calm. He gives us a chance to win and get our bearings.”
Woodbury has only five seniors on its roster this season, Moore being one of them. In order to survive in a competitive conference, seniors need to step up and play an important role and that is Moore has done for the Royals.
“You take a team that is relatively inexperienced and Zack has been there for us,” Bolin said. “He’s been that way all year and that is what you want.”
He gives Woodbury a chance every night he is between the pipes because of what is between his ears.
Moore’s mindset is probably one of his best attributes. A position that is as magnified as goalies are in hockey, it can bring out the best or worst.
His attitude and body language after letting in a goal is the same as if he did have to make a big save. Not a lot of emotion. Just take care of business.
“It’s the way I have been raised,” Moore said. “My dad always told me you can’t let things rattle you, especially being a goalie. Can’t get o high, can’t get too low. If you get scored on, you have to forget it because they can score on you again and make things worse for your team. Just have to let it go.”
While Mounds View was buzzing the zone on its power plays, where it did go 1-5, it would take a near-perfect shot or a deflection to get it by Moore.
He challenged the Mustangs, even when there was heavy traffic by the crease. Moore was out of his crease, getting position to make the save as easy as possible.
“Most of the shots I saw,” Moore said. “I thought I tracked the puck pretty well. They got some guys in front, which will happen when you have a penalty, but I saw most pretty easy.”
The one that did slip by Moore was on the Mustangs power play. Phil Boje’s slap shot ping-ponged its way through Royals and Mustangs players in front of the net and beat Moore to his left.
It may have been the only shot all night that he did not have a chance to see.
“I really didn’t see it,” Moore said. “I think it got tipped twice on the way to me. I knew he was going to shoot, so I dropped and hoped for the best. Unfortunately it got by me.”
Woodbury already had a 3-0 lead by the time Mounds View tallied its first goal. Two goals in the first and a power play goal early in the second allowed the Royals goalie to settle into the game and let his game fall right into place.
“It’s always nice to get a goalie early on where I can have some confidence right away,” Moore said. “When my team is playing well, I think I can play better behind them.”
Not as busy as he has been this season, Moore said he enjoys seeing the puck in the oppositions zone a majority of the time, but he did admit he likes to be in the spotlight every now and then.
“It’s good to see the puck in their end for most of the game,” he said. “but I like to see a few of my own.”
No shot is a bad shot for Woodbury.
Evan Erickson’s goal in the first period was just thrown on net and it somehow got in.
It was the recipe in the first period when the Royals put 12 shots on net, over half of their output for the night.
The shots alone may have not tired Mounds View out, but the pressure in that period made the difference.
“If you’re playing defense all night it makes it hard to score and it takes a toll on your team,” Moore said.
“Our guys did a great job keeping the puck in their zone for most of the night, even if we did not get a lot of shots.”
The start was important for Woodbury, because Mounds View can be a team that can sneak up and hurt any team in the SEC.
Mounds View tied conference leader White Bear Lake a week before and have been a part of close contests all season.
“They’ve played everybody tough,” Bolin said. “There are three teams they have beat or tied that we’ve lost to. This was a game we had to play well from the start and I thought we did that.”
Woodbury peppered Mustangs goalie Sam Hjelm in the opening stanza and quickly found out what can happen when pucks are thrown at the net.
“We have been outshot for most of the season, so it was good to see us come out and be aggressive in the first,” Bolin said. “We may have outshot three or four teams this season and that may be it. Sometimes you get lucky by just getting the puck on net like our first one and get rebound goals like our second.”
The Royals were able to generate a lot of shots and chances by not fooling around with the puck at the blue line. When their defense had the puck at the Mustangs blue line, they did not have the puck for a long time.
It was off their sticks heading into corners or on net where forwards were crashing for rebounds.
“We play pretty smart and know that we can’t turn the puck over when our forwards are down by their net,” Moore said. “It’s never a bad play to keep the puck in their zone.”
Zack Moore stopped 23 shots while Matt Pederson and Christian Turner each recorded a goal and two assists in Woodbury’s 5-1 win at the Bielenberg Ice Arena on Jan. 15.
The Royals were 2-6 on the power play and Turner scored a shot handed goal in the third to make the most of their special teams play.
Woodbury won by playing a simple clean game. It did not make all the pretty, fancy dangling plays.
When Mounds View pressured Woodbury on the blue line, its defense got rid of the puck, not forcing the issue.
Evan Erickson scored the first goal of the game just three minutes in when he simply threw the puck on goal that seemed to surprise everyone in the building. Even Mustangs goalie Sam Hjelm.
Ten minutes later Ryan Winter buried a rebound right in front of the net to give the Royals heading into the second.
Joey Lindberg rifled a slap shot from the point on the power play just 3 minutes, 24 seconds into the second period for a 3-0 Royals lead.
Mounds View got on the board when Phil Boje got a shot through from the point on a Mustangs power play. After that, Woodbury and Moore shut Mounds View down.
Turner put away a short-handed goal on an attempt that was actually heading wide of the net. However, Boje was rushing back after Mounds View turned the puck over and the puck deflected off him and went in.
Pederson ripped a heavy wrist shot past Hjelm, over his left shoulder in the third period to give Woodbury a 5-1 lead and ended the scoring.
Mounds View dropped to 5-7-3 (2-4-3 SEC) and will host East Ridge on Jan. 20. Woodbury improved to 10-6-0 (5-4-0 SEC) and will take on Roseville at home on Jan. 20.
1. Matt Pederson, Woodbury
One goal and two assists on some highlight quality plays. While short handed, he picked off a pass at the Mustangs blue line, did a spin-o-rama and got the pass to teammate Christian Turner, who buried the shot for a 4-1 lead in the second. In the final period, Pederson unleashed a wrist shot from the left circle and beat Mustangs goalie Sam Hjelm clean over his left shoulder.
2. Christian Turner, Woodbury
Put away a short-handed goal and tallied two assists of his own. He was one of the offensive threats for the Royals all night and was an important factor on the power play, setting up scoring chances and putting constant pressure on the Mustangs.
3. Zack Moore, Woodbury
Only allowed one goal, the only shot he did not even see leave the stick and was as cool as the other side of the pillow. He never looked frazzled, keeping a cool head in one of the most important positions in the sport. Moore faced a lot of shots in the first period, but was in great position and challenged Mounds View to beat him. His angles were top-notch and was not going to let his team down.