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Chris Murphy, Published December 17 2013

Another 3rd-period rally lifts Moorhead boys hockey over Alexandria

MOORHEAD – Moorhead’s boys hockey team apparently has a thing for scoring in the third period.

After scoring four goals in the third period to beat Minnetonka by one in its previous game, the Spuds netted six third-period goals Tuesday to knock off Alexandria 6-1.

“From start to finish, that was one of the best games we’ve played,” Moorhead coach Jon Ammerman said. “Obviously, the dividends didn’t pay off until the third, but we thought we were pushing the pace of the game and throwing the pucks on net and their goalie was playing a great game.”

The numbers simply didn’t add up. After two periods, Moorhead (5-2) was outshooting Alexandria 31-13, but the Cardinals (5-2) were up 1-0 thanks to a power-play goal and Sam Goetsch in net. With one second left on the Cardinals’ third power play of the second period, Kevin Finley fired from the point and a redirect from Zach Johnson put the Cardinals up with 31 seconds left in the period.

“After a while, you start to get frustrated,” Ammerman said. “Once we finally found the back of the net, it rained and poured.”

In the first 4 minutes, 13 seconds of the third period, Moorhead made it rain. It took 32 shots, but Austin Skjefte got the Spuds on the board 34 seconds into the third on a backhand wraparound to tie the game.

“Their goalie kept them in it and coach just said to just keep doing what we’re doing,” Skjefte said. “It worked out and we started scoring. We just got to keep our heads up and know that we can battle back and know that we can find the net when it really matters.”

Less than three minutes after Skjefte tied it, Jacob Odegard put Moorhead up 2-1 thanks to a centering pass from Trey Greene behind the net. Aaron Herdt made it 3-1 off of a faceoff 50 seconds later and the Spuds took all momentum.

“I know we were frustrated lacking goals on the scoreboard going into the third period,” Odegard said. “After we got the first one, we really started to pump them in and confidence started building.”

With 4:46 to go in the game and Moorhead up 3-1, Alexandria picked up a 5-minute major penalty. The Spuds ended any comeback hopes quickly, scoring three power-play goals in less than a minute. With 2:29 to go in the game, Addison Hardy made it 4-1. Zach Holtgrewe scored 31 seconds later to make it 5-1 and Alex Mehnert scored 27 seconds after that to close things out.

Moorhead has now scored 10 goals in the third periods of the last two games, both of which the Spuds were trailing after two periods.

“We really put a wear and tear on teams,” Odegard said. “We grind it out and teams just can’t keep up with us by the third period. We feel like we’re going strong and can push the pace in the third.”

Moorhead has ended the last two games with a bang. Ammerman is hoping the Spuds do the same thing with the season.

“The eventual goal is the end of the year,” Ammerman said. “Over our past five periods, we’ve gotten better every period. If we can continue to do that, at the end of the year, we’ll hopefully contend.”

FIRST PERIOD: No scoring.

SECOND PERIOD: 1, A, Johnson (Finley, Helgeson), 19:29, (pp).

THIRD PERIOD: 2, M, Skjefte (Herdt), 0:34. 3, M, Odegard (Greene, Hardy), 3:23. 4, M, Herdt (Paulson), 4:13. 5, M, Hardy (Erickson), 14:31, (pp). 6, M, Holtgrewe (Weiss, Herdt), 15:02, (pp). 7, M, Mehnert (Paulson), 15:29, (pp).

SAVES: A, Goetsch 17-14-11–42. M, Dittmer 4-9-5–18

Readers can reach Forum reporter

Chris Murphy at (701) 241-5548