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Chris Murphy, Published December 15 2012

Centennial snaps Moorhead hockey's 4-game winning streak

MOORHEAD – Every pair of eyes on a Moorhead boys hockey player’s face was focused on the ground Saturday, as the Spuds made the long trek from the Moorhead Sports Center ice to the locker room. Sticks were hit against the ground a little harder than usual and one player uttered in disgust, “We had so many solid chances.”

After winning four in a row – including two over section contenders No. 15 Roseau and Bemidji – No. 13 Moorhead was due for a letdown. Saturday was it, as the Spuds were outmatched from start to finish in a 5-1 drubbing at the hands of Centennial.

“As a coaching staff, you hope a letdown isn’t coming and we’re never due for one,” Moorhead coach Peter Cullen said. “The pattern is simple. We’ve only got two losses, but it’s so evident that if we don’t work, we don’t move our feet, we’re not physical and if we don’t play aggressively then we will lose and lose bad. We lost bad against (Benilde-St.Margaret’s) and we lost bad tonight again.”

Just as Benilde-St. Margaret’s had done to Moorhead (5-2) in its other loss of the season, Centennial came out swinging early. The Cougars scored three goals in the opening frame and never looked back.

Cougars center Kenny Sinna notched three points, including a goal 22 seconds into the game on a rebound to set the tone.

“There is not one player on our team that will not mention starting fast if you talk to them,” Cullen said. “It absolutely sets the tone. We needed to have a fast start and we didn’t. When other teams have a fast start they have success. They catch us back on our heels and you’re reeling.”

Less than five minutes after Sinna’s goal, Andrew Bertrand stuffed home a rebound on the power play to make it 2-0. Wyatt Close made it 3-0 thanks to assists from Jordan Pitlick and Collin Hughes when Centennial (4-2) worked a man-advantage to perfection.

Less than four minutes into the second period, Tony Uglem got Moorhead on the board, stealing a pass in the attacking zone and firing top shelf to cut the Centennial lead to 3-1.

Moorhead had two power plays in the first period, but could not convert, eventually going 0-for-4 on the power play.

FIRST PERIOD: 1. C, Sinna (Gorowsky), 0:22. 2. C, Bertrand (Gorowsky), pp, 5:42. 3. C, Close (Pitlick, Hughes), pp, 14:11. SECOND PERIOD: 4. T. Uglem (N. Uglem), 3:36. 5. C, Gorowsky (Sinna, Close) 6:17. 6. C, Sinna, 8:02. THIRD PERIOD: no scoring. SAVES: M, MacFarlane 10-x-x 10 saves, Dittmer x-6-6 12 saves. C, Munson 7-10-13 30 saves.

Readers can reach Forum reporter

Chris Murphy at (701) 241-5548