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Morris Benson boys finish third

The Morris Benson Area boys' hockey team took third place in Breezy Point at the three-day Northern Lakes Invitational.

In the opening round on Monday, Dec. 29, the Storm took on Red Lake Falls. MBA showed a lot of rust from the holiday break as Red Lake Falls controlled the action for most of the game.

The Storm scored the only goal of the first period when Peter Lindblad scored unassisted on a breakaway with just under three minutes remaining to give MBA a 1-0 lead at the break.

Storm goalie Will Johnson made 13 saves in the period, while the Red Lake Falls goalie turned aside six MBA shots on goal.

Red Lake Falls completely dominated the second period and only a red-hot Johnson kept the Storm in the game as he stopped 25 out of the 26 shots that he saw in the period, only allowing a goal at the 9:42 mark which tied the game at 1-1 heading into the third and final period.

MBA was only able to muster up four shots in the period.

It looked like much of the same early in the third period as Red Lake Falls scored two early goals, at the 2:54 mark, and again just six seconds later to take a 3-1 lead.

The Storm gradually took control of the puck, keeping the pressure in the Red Lake Falls end of the ice for the first time in the game. The pressure paid off when Tyler Hansen scored off of a pass from Andreas Siggelin at the 6:37 mark to pull MBA to within 3-2. Brady Valnes also got an assist on the goal.

A couple of penalties stopped the Storm momentum as they tried to tie the game. Down by one with one minute remaining, the Storm pulled Johnson for an extra attacker. The move paid off when Lindblad slid a perfect pass through the crease to Sampsa Purojarvi with just seventeen seconds remaining and Purojarvi buried the puck into the back of the net to tie the score. The game ended in a 3-3 tie since there was to be no overtime in the round robin tournament format.

Both Johnson and the Red Lake Falls goalie made 10 saves in the period.

In the opening game of the tournament Northern Lakes had defeated Bagley/Foston by a score of 8-1.

Day two of the tournament saw the Storm take on the undefeated host team, the Northern Lakes Lightning. Northern Lakes came into the game with a 9-0 record, and their goalie Trey Flesch had recorded a state-high four shutouts and was allowing less than one goal per game.

Unlike on Monday, the Storm started strong in this game controlling the action for the first half of the period, but they were unable to get the puck past Flesch. Northern Lakes took over in the second half of the opening stanza and took a 1-0 lead when they scored with just over one minute remaining.

Flesch made seven saves in the period and Johnson also was on his game, stopping 11.

The Lightning continued to control the game in the second period, scoring the only two goals, at 6:12 and again at 11:04, to take a comfortable 3-0 lead into the final period.

Saves in the second were 16 for Johnson and five for Flesch.

Northern Lakes also got the first goal of the third period five minutes in, but the Storm answered with their first goal of the game when Purojarvi converted passes from Lindblad and Mike Morales to get the Storm on the scoreboard.  The Lightning would get another goal before the Storm would get the final goal of the game, the first goal in the varsity career of Ethan Ratliff-Crain, assisted by Lindblad, to make the final score 5-2 in favor of Northern Lakes.

Johnson made 14 more third-period saves for a game total of 41 while Flesch made four for a game total of 16.

Earlier in the day Red Lake Falls had defeated Bagley/Foston by a score of 6-1.

Lindblad and Hansen both recorded hat tricks in the Storms' final game of the tournament as they defeated Bagley/Foston by a score of 8-2.

MBA again started slowly, but took a 1-0 lead into the second period on a Morales power-play goal assisted by Lindblad.

Johnson was again in net for MBA and he made three saves in the period while the B/F goalie made six.

The Storm picked up the pace in the second period as they scored five times to just one for B/F to take a commanding 6-1 lead. Lindblad scored first, again on the power play with an assist going to Siggelin three minutes into the period. Hansen then scored two minutes later assisted by Siggelin and Valnes. Bagley/Foston scored their only goal of the period at the 7:27 mark to draw to within 3-1. Another B/F penalty two minutes later gave the Storm the man advantage and Dustin Sauter threaded a perfect pass to Siggelin which scored on a tip-in as MBA converted on their third power play of the game. Lindblad also picked up an assist on the goal.

Linblad scored again, assisted by Hansen at the 11:03 mark, and Hansen added the last goal of the period just 1:30 later assisted by Valnes for the 6-1 Storm lead.

Johnson made six saves in the period while the B/F goalie was kept busy making 20.

Alex Sinclair entered the game in goal for the Storm in the final period and despite giving up a goal just 12 seconds into the period, he played very well, stopping the final nine shots that Bagely/Foston threw at him in the period.

Linblad competed his hat trick just 56 seconds into the period with an assist from Juho Luhtakanta and Hansen finished his off just seconds later, with another assist to Luhtakanta and one to Siggelin to make the final score 8-2.

"This game was a total team effort as defensemen Sauter, Luhtakanta, Jake Manska, and Thomas Horecka played well in front of the goalies, and forwards, Lindblad, Morales, Purojarvi, Valnes, Hansen, Siggelin, Josh Taylor, Ratliff-Crain, Tristan Michealson, and Timo Widmann all contributed as well," said fan Gary Hansen. "Sophomore goalie Andrew Fath is waiting for his initial action on the young season." 

Red Lakes Falls upset the previously undefeated Northern Lakes team later in the day to win the championship, pushing the Lightning back to second place and the Storm to third in the tournament.

Morris Benson now takes their 4-2-1 record into their next game against Redwood Valley on Tuesday, Jan. 6 at 7 p.m. in Benson.