The Monticello/Annandale/Maple Lake hockey team is over .500 for the first time this season after skating (and scoring) their way to a 2-1 record at the St. Cloud Holiday Tournament last weekend.
The Moose opened the game with one of their most impressive victories of the young season.
After losing to Sartell 7-0 in the season opener, M.A.M.L bounced back to beat them 4-3 Thursday night.
Coach Sheldon Weston said the win didn’t come as a shock to his team.
“Even when we lost the last time, we kind of left feeling like we were the better team,” said Weston. “We just had to execute and finish.”
They did that Thursday, especially for the middle 47 minutes.
The game started like a bad case of deja vu for the Moose. Sartell scored just over a minute into the first period.
But M.A.M.L settled in quickly and battled evenly for the rest of the period, according to Weston.
They entered the second period still trailing by one, but it wouldn’t remain that way for long.
Four minutes into the second period, Monticello’s top line found the equalizer. Drew Brockman scored the goal, assisted by Colton Jones and Oliver Winsor.
Five minutes later, Brockman scored again, this time on a power play, and again assisted by Jones.
When Brooke Evans (assisted by Tyler Mros) added a tally just over a minute later, the Moose had a 3-1 lead, a lead that they would carry into the third period.
A fourth goal from Evans would push the lead all the way to 4-1, before the Moose had to withstand a late Sartell charge. The Sabres score two goals in the final three minutes, cutting the lead to one, but the Moose held there.
“We had a little bit of a letdown there at the end, but we were very happy to have the win.”
Weston said the biggest two differences between the first and second Sartell matchup were offensive execution and doing the little things. Thursday his guys were blocking pucks, backchecking and doing the things necessary to earn a big win.
The Moose carried that momentum into Friday, as they took on River Lakes. The game was tied at two early in the second period before consecutive goals from Sam Johnson (just a minute apart) put M.A.M.L ahead for good.
The Moose would connect on four of their six power plays throughout the game as they cruised to an 8-3 victory.
Colton Jones joined Johnson with two goals, while Nick Johnson scored the first varsity goal of his career during the game.
Saturday, Monticello found themselves pitted against St. Cloud Tech, a team that was also 2-0 during the tournament, which featured a predetermined schedule.
The Moose had the better of the play early, jumping to a 3-1 lead early in the second period, before Tech came roaring back for a 5-3 victory.
Weston said the game was evidence of how good the Moose can be, and how quickly things can go the other direction.
“When we play our game and everyone is on the same page, I think we’re pretty darn good,” he said. “But the wheels fall off in a hurry if we start forgetting to do our jobs.”
The Moose were done in Saturday by five second period penalties, leading to two key Tech goals.
The Moose got goals from Brockman, Evans and Winsor in defeat.
M.A.M.L, now 6-5 on the season, returns to action tonight. The Moose host Mound-Westonka in a game that is set to begin at 7.
The Moose will resume conference action Jan. 9, when they travel to St. Francis.
Contact Clay Sawatzke at email@example.com