St. Louis Park, Mn -- O-R-I-O-L-E-S, the pride could not have come through any louder as the St. Louis Park Orioles chanted and warmed up in the upper reaches of the Rec Center before their non-conference game with the Hopkins Royals. There was a festive atmosphere in the air as the Second Annual St. Louis Park Hockey Weekend kicked off its activities Friday night with a boot hockey game in the parking lot of the Rec Center and a non-conference the varsity game played before the Orioles largest crowd of the season.
Wins have not been the norm for the Orioles this year. After losing their first 11 games of the season, the Orioles picked up their first win and it was a North Suburban Conference game over the Irondale Knights by a score of 9-2 January 15th. Friday night the battled the Hopkins Royals through two periods and trailed 4-3 going into the third period only to fall to the Royals 7-4.
Hopkins sophomore Jalen Wahl's four point night led the way as he tallied a goal and three assists. Wahl was recently inserted on the top line and plays with junior Tanner Holmquist and senior Kyle Dalton. "They are great," Wahl said of playing with his line. "I am really lucky to be on their line, they set me up all the time and work good together." Wahl has picked up (4g-9a-13pts) in his last six games.
"In general, that line, Jalen (Wahl), Tanner (Holmquist), and Kyle (Dalton) have to go for us to win," coach Justin Degriselles said. "Jalen has played well since three weeks ago when we moved him on the line with a couple of veterans, Tanner and Kyle and he has strived there. He is playing with two guys that can either score goals or move the puck too."
Friday night, Wahl's line combined for 9 points picking up 3 goals 6 assists. Dalton had two goals and an assist while Holmquist set up a pair of goals. Freshman goalie Sam Dalton made 25 saves in the game to pick up his 2nd win in the season to improve to 2-2.
The Orioles had great jump with the energy and according to junior defenseman Justin Brown, was one of the better games his team has played all year. "I think it brought the intensity in," said Brown. "There was good support and every time we came off the ice, we heard a lot of positive things and it got us going. I think it was one of the better games we played this year even though we lost."
Senior Brooke Patterson had a goal and an assist and freshman Jesse Kunudson tallied two assists for St. Louis Park. The Orioles are led by a talented crew of underclassmen as junior and Tyler Broderson tallied a pair of goals and defenseman Justin Brown moves the puck and defends well while distributing effective leadership with his team.
Brown discussed how his team does not allow the mounting losses to affect his teams next day and said, "Each day is a new day and we forget the past. We can't do anything about it, so we've gotta just move on and keep playing our game the best we can."
The game was not as much about the Hopkins victory who improved to (9-7, 0-1) on the season as it was about the celebration of St. Louis Park hockey. Saturday, the NHL Alumni team takes to the ice to play coaches from the youth association and the Hopkins mite program will participate in a mite jamboree with St. Louis Park.