By Tim Droogsma
A 22-goal barrage over three games gave Team Northwest a 3-0 sweep and moved them into a tie for first place during week 2 of the Upper Midwest High School Elite League.
Northwest kicked off the week with a thrilling 8-7 win over Team Northeast in the league’s Tuesday night game. With the game tied 5-5 in the second period, Northwest scored three straight goals to build an 8-5 margin, then held on through a furious Northeast rally to preserve the win. Blaine’s Jonny Brodzinski and Benilde’s Grant Besse each had two goals, while Patrick Steinhauser of Benilde added three assists.
Coach Pat Williams’ team then moved on to Wausau, Wisconsin, for a pair of weekend games. On Saturday, Brodzinski led the way with three goals and an assist in a 7-3 win over Team Wisconsin. Wayzata’s Tony Cameranesi also had four points with a goal and three helpers. On Sunday, Steinhauser and Mario Lucia each scored a pair of goals in a 7-4 win over Team Southwest, while Cameranesi again tallied a goal and three assists.
Team North, playing in Duluth, won its first two games to run its season-opening streak to five games before losing 6-5 on Sunday to Team Great Plains. Saturday’s first win was a 3-2 win over Team Southeast that was decided when North goalie Alex Lyon stopped a penalty shot with two seconds remaining. Lyon, from Lake of the Woods, made a glove save on Southeast’s Kevin Becker to preserve the win, and stopped 46 of 48 shots in the game. Grand Rapids’ Patrick Moore scored a pair of goals.
In the late game Saturday, North romped past Norway 9-1, launching 58 shots as Jack McFarlane (2G, 1A) and Matt Pohlkamp (1G, 2A) each had three-point games. North suffered its first loss of the season on Sunday, falling 6-5 to Team Great Plains.
For Great Plains, the win completed a three-game weekend sweep that moved the team into a tie with Wisconsin for third place. The weekend began with a 7-1 win over Norway in which Luke Johnson of Grand Forks Central scored two goals and added two assists. Goalie Michael Bitzer of Moorhead then stopped 47 of 49 shots in a 3-2 win over Southeast. Chris Forney’s power-play goal at 13:29 of the third period broke a 2-2 tie. On Sunday, Josh Erickson scored three goals and added an assist, while Roseau teammate Shane Omdahl had a goal and two assists in the win over North.
Team Wisconsin, playing on home ice in Wausau, won two of three to remain tied for third place. Brad Navin’s goal with 4:03 left in the game delivered a 3-2 win over Team Southwest. Navin also had an assist in the game, while Alexander Dahl had two assists. After a 7-3 loss to Team Northwest on Saturday night, Wisconsin bounced back with an 8-1 win over Team Northeast on Sunday. Trevor Hoth of Stoughton had two goals and an assist for Wisconsin, while Navin and Middleton’s Brett Skibba each added two goals. Hudson’s Ryan Dau had three assists, and goalie Saxton Soley of Eau Claire stopped 36 of 37 shots.
Team Southeast lost a pair of 3-2 games before pounding Norway 14-1 on Sunday. Southeast scored just 38 seconds into the game, then went on to launch 90 shots at Norwegian goalie Espen Johansen. Zach Schroeder, Hudson Fasching, Bob Kinne and Cullen Hurley each had a pair of goals, while Justin Kloos picked up five points on a goal and four assists.
Team Southwest earned its only victory of the weekend with a 6-2 win over Northeast. Edina’s Steven Fogarty scored two goals as Southwest outshot Northeast 46-26.
After scoring seven goals in the Tuesday night loss, Team Northeast managed just three goals in a pair of weekend losses, and fell to 1-5 in Elite League play.
NOTES: This weeks’ Tuesday night game is a Northeast-Northwest rematch of last Tuesday’s 8-7 Northwest win, and begins at 7 p.m at New Hope Arena...Shattuck-St. Mary’s joins the league this week as Team Norway heads home. The Norwegians lost all six games and were outscored 69-9… Lakeville South’s Justin Kloos now leads the league in scoring with 13 points (4G, 9A)…Wisconsin’s Brad Navin is the leading goal-scorer with eight, while Kloos and Northwest’s Tony Cameranesi are tops in assists with nine….Lakeville North goalie Charlie Lindgren of Team Southeast has a league-best 2.37 goals-against average, while Team North’s Alex Lyon leads in save percentage with a .924 mark…All league games this weekend are at New Hope Arena before heading to Stevens Point, Wisconsin and Grand Rapids, Minnesota the weekend of Oct. 2-3.