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Chris Murphy, Published February 18 2014

Moorhead boys hockey rolls St. Cloud Tech 8-0 in section quarterfinal

MOORHEAD – Nothing symbolized Tuesday was Moorhead’s night more than Alex Mehnert’s goal from about 165 feet away from the St. Cloud Tech net. With the Spuds short-handed, Mehnert’s clearing puck from behind the Spuds’ blue line dribbled down the ice until it bounced over the shoulder of Tigers goalie Austin Althaus.

“We definitely didn’t draw that up,” Moorhead coach Jon Ammerman said.

It was just that kind of a night for Moorhead in its 8-0 shellacking in the Minnesota Class 2A, Section 8 quarterfinals. Mehnert was proof that it doesn’t matter how the puck finds the back of the net, as long as it does.

“I wasn’t expecting it, but it’s always good when you can get a goal,” Mehnert said. “This gives us a boost going forward.”

Moorhead left absolutely no doubt and did it rather quickly. Will Borgen scored 20 seconds into the game on a slap shot and scored seven minutes later to make it 2-0. It was two of Moorhead’s five first-period goals and two of Borgen’s four points on the night.

“It gets us all going,” Borgen said of Moorhead’s quick start. “It gave us confidence going the rest of the game and hopefully it pushes us through the playoffs.”

Some more confidence for the No. 2-seeded Spuds could come in the fact top-seeded Roseau squeaked by No. 8 seed River Lakes 4-3 on Tuesday. Compared to Moorhead’s performance, in which the Spuds had six different players score goals, nine different player notch points and outshot St. Cloud Tech 57-13, Roseau’s win looked like a loss.

“We’d still expect them to play hard against us when we meet them,” Borgen said. “It was probably just a fluke game for them.”

In the final six minutes of the first period, Moorhead added three goals, two of which came from Austin Skjefte and another from Addison Hardy. Midway through the second period, Zach Holtgrewe made it 6-0, Aaron Herdt made it 7-0 four minutes later and Mehnert’s 165-foot bouncer wrapped it up.

“We’ve always said when we work hard, we’re very successful,” Ammerman said. “We came out hard and guys got in and worked their butts off. With a minute left, in an 8-0 game, we had senior Nick Paulson blocking shots. If we have those types of efforts, we’ll be fine.”

The Spuds will have to get by No. 3 seed Brainerd at home Saturday in order to try to make it four straight section titles. The Spuds own the Warriors historically with a 40-6-1 all-time record against them, but the Spuds split the season series. The Warriors won 5-3 last time they traveled to Moorhead on Jan. 30.

The Spuds moved to 12-12-1 overall with Tuesday’s win. Moorhead has not finished a season below .500 since the 1987-88 season.

Records have gone out the window. All that matters now are final scores.

“We’re a team that has had to earn everything we’ve gotten,” Ammerman said. “We’re going to take it one game at a time. We’re excited to have them come to our rink. Hopefully, we can get up for it and be excited to play.”

FIRST PERIOD: 1, M, Borgen (Herdt), 0:20. 2, M, Borgen (Odegard), 7:14. 3, M, Skjefte (Holtgrewe, Mehnert), 11:24. 4, M, Hardy (Keller), 12:13. 5, M, Skjefte (Herdt, Borgen), 15:55, (pp).

SECOND PERIOD: 6, M, Holtgrewe (Fahrendorf), 8:47. 7, Herdt (Odegard), 12:21. 8, M, Mehnert (Borgen), 16:44, (sh).

THIRD PERIOD: no scoring.

SAVES: S, Althaus 13-21-15–49. M, Dittmer 3-5-x–8, Kvalevog x-x-5–5


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Chris Murphy at (701) 241-5548