Through the first four games and a 1-3 start, one goal a game is all the offense the Buffalo boys' hockey team has been able to muster.
The latest coming in a 4-1 road defeat last Saturday, Dec. 9 at St. Cloud Tech/Apollo.
Tied 1-1, St. Cloud dominated the final 17 minutes, outshooting Buffalo 19-2 in the third period, but more importantly, outscoring them 3-0.
Junior Nathan Mueller was peppered with 40 shots on goal. Buffalo was held to just 17.
Junior Treyton Welch's first goal of the season gave the Bison an early 1-0 lead. Sophomore Devin Huebner and junior Ryan Nelson assisted on the goal at 8:45 of period one. Nelson's team-leading three assists also leads the team in points.
The teams skated to a 1-1 tie after one period as St. Cloud scored the first of four unanswered goals at 14:24 on a power play off the stick of Josh Bach. The Bison had a golden opportunity just moments after Bach's goal, but failed to convert on a 5-on-3 man advantage for 1:20.
No goals were scored in the second period with St. Cloud holding a 21-15 shot advantage after 34 minutes. Again, Buffalo's power play failed to convert, this time with a 5-minute major on a checking from behind call.
"We need to clean up our power play," said head coach Aaron Johnson. "If we score on the 5-on-3 or the 5-minute major we earned, we change the entire complexion of the game."
Instead, Bach netted his second of the game and eventual game winner just 1:53 into period three. Noah Bissett would later add two insurance goals.
"We made a few mistakes turning over pucks early in the third period and they capitalized. St. Cloud's a very experienced team with 13 seniors. Once they got the lead, they smelled blood and really came after us," Johnson said. "The majority of the game we played hard and smart. Take away a 4-5 minute stretch in the third and we were pretty good."
With a very inexperienced and young team to start the season, Johnson predicted that offense could struggle early.
"I don't think anyone is frustrated. All of our forwards are in roles that they have not played in at the high school level," Johnson said. "Usually you have upperclassmen that can ease the transition and shoulder some of the top line/power-play roles – we don't have that this year. We're doing a lot of good things and I think it just is a matter of time before we see the results."
Buffalo overpowered a struggling Cambridge-Isanti squad with a 15-3 road win Tuesday, Dec. 12 in Isanti. The Bison outshot the Bluejackets 79-23 for the game.
The Bison led 5-0 after one period, outshooting the Jackets 39-0. The score was 12-1 after two periods. The third period was played under running time.
Sophomore Jake Braccini scored his first career varsity goal and point 1:38 into the first period. He made it 2-0 just five minutes later. Jake finished with three goals and three assists. Sophomore Tyler Braccini recorded his first varsity point with an assist on Jake's second goal. Tyler ended the night with a goal and three helpers.
Jake was one of three Bison to record a hat trick, joining Welch and junior forward Ben Klein.
Other goal scorers included: Nelson, senior Ben Lindvall, senior Tyler Marr, junior Joe McNamara, and sophomore Alex Beckman.
Next up for the Bison is a non-conference battle on Thursday, Dec. 14 against Delano. Game time is 7:15 p.m.
St. Cloud 4, Buffalo 1
(Saturday, Dec. 9 at St. Cloud)
Bison1 0 0 - 1
St. Cloud1 0 3 - 4
First period: B -- Treyton Welch (Devin Huebner, Ryan Nelson) 8:45; SC -- Josh Bach (Casey Hormann, Conner Doucette) 14:24, PP.
Second period: No scoring.
Third period: SC -- Bach 2 (Nick Richert, Luke Johnson) 1:53; SC -- Noah Bissett (Carter Rieland, Brad Amundson) 3:02; SC -- Bissett 2 (Rieland, Tyler Lunderby) 14:36.
Goalies: B – Nathan Mueller (loss) 40 shots, 36 saves; SC – Soren Falloon (win) 17 shots, 16 saves. Shots: B – 6-9-2 – 17; SC – 9-12-19 – 40. Power Plays: B – 0-1; SC – 1-1.
Buffalo 15, Cambridge-Isanti 3
(Tuesday, Dec. 12 at Isanti)
Bison5 7 3 - 15
Bluejackets0 1 2 - 3
First period: B -- Jake Braccini (unassisted) 1:38; B -- J. Braccini 2 (Tyler Braccini) 6:28; B -- Ben Klein (Cal James, Ryan Nelson) 8:19; B -- Treyton Welch (Klein) 15:03, SH; B -- Ben Lindvall (unassisted) 16:24.
Second period: B -- Welch 2 (Klein, Nelson) 1:28; B -- Tyler Marr (Alex Beckman) 2:28; B -- Joe McNamara (J. Braccini, T. Braccini) 8:18; B -- Klein 2 (James, J. Braccini) 10:06, PP; B -- Welch 3 (James) 12:13; B -- T. Braccini (Devin Huebner) 12:28; B -- J. Braccini 3 (Welch)14:48; CI -- Harrison Grandgenett (Derek Becklin) 16:20.
Third period: B -- Klein 3 (T. Braccini, J. Braccini) 2:15, PP; B -- Beckman (unassisted) 8:14; B -- Nelson (Welch) 10:34; CI -- Nathan Schibilla (Luke Miller) 15:35; CI -- Jacob Ziebarth (Easton Parnell, Blake Carlson) 16:53.
Goalies: B – Nathan Mueller (win) 23 shots, 20 saves; CI – Brody Nelson (loss) 79 shots, 64 saves. Shots: B – 39-24-16 – 79; CI – 0-8-15 – 23. Power Plays: B – 2-4; CI – 0-3.