A fresh start was on the minds of the #5A Totino Grace Eagles who were thumped by the Benilde-St. Margaret's Red Knights four days ago by a score of 9-2 in North Suburban Conference play. The start did not appear so fresh last night as a slow start plagued the Eagles against the Breck Mustangs. The Eagles were able to break open a 3-3 tie with three unanswered third period goals to defeat the #3A Mustangs by a score of 6-3 at Parade Ice Arena in Minneapolis.
Eagle senior TJ Roo notched 2 goals and an assist while Andrew McDonald had a goal and two assists to lead their team to the victory and improve their record to 13-2-0. Sophomore goalie Rory Davidowski was stellar in goal as he turned aside 28 shots to pick up his 7th win against only 1 loss this year.
The Eagles found themselves getting better as they game wore on. They started slow and looked like a team that was still shell-shocked from their rough loss to the Red Knights. The Mustangs pounced on that with momentum early in the game and notched the first goal as Thomas Lindstrom put his squad on the board at 4:06 of the first period.
"They came out and they got a lot of shots real quick and put one in there over the glove," Davidowski said. "We just kept working hard and didn't really let them get too many opportunities during the first and put one in the end and it was a pretty good game after that."
Xaiver Fust responded for the Eagles late in the first period at 16:06 to tie it at one. The teams exchanged a pair of goals each in the second period and headed to the locker room tied at 3 after two periods. Grace took advantage of the power play as they went 2-5 with the man advantage while the Mustangs were scoreless in 6 chances with the man advantage.
The Eagles took a grip on the third period as they picked up their legs and energy. They outshot the Mustangs 14-8 for the period and 38-31 for the game. Roo scored the game winner at 5:52 and the all important insurance pouchy at 11:58.
Up to that point, neither team had led by more than one goal. It proved to be a back breaker as Derek Lodermeier scored the final goal of the game at 12:39 and opened an insurmountable lead.
It was the defensive play that stood out as the entire team played all three zones effectively. Eagles coach Mark Loahr felt it was important to improve on two decent periods while finding a way to be at their best and said, "We stressed going into that period that we were going to have to play our best period and play even better in both ends and I thought we played really well in that period defensively and that is where we really have got to get better and it showed tonight."
It was a game that the Eagles needed in lieu of their effort against the Red Knights.
"This is huge," Roo said. "After that loss we were all heartbroken we tried our best and the puck didn't go our way that game so we got together and came together as a team and played as a team."
"The one good thing about that game (BSM) is I think it got us ready for some of the games we will be playing," Loahr said. "It is hard to ever want to lose a game and we certainly didn't want to, but we learned some good lessons in that loss and I think it showed up here. Our kids played at that fast pace that they will have to play if they want to play with the better teams and I think they found out today that they can beat those teams."
Defeating the two time defending State Champions and taking positives from a tough loss just a few days ago are the key ingredients for the Eagles as they strive to be a major factor in the Section 4A.
Turned aside 28 shots and held off the Mustangs hard charging push in the first period to help his team to the win.