BLOOMINGTON — Heading into Saturday’s road game against Bloomington Kennedy, the Dragons boys hockey team hadn’t picked up a win in 22 days. They were eager to get back on track — and they succeeded, defeating the Eagles 5-1 decisively at the Bloomington Ice Garden.
“The boys played well on Saturday,” head coach Brice Berggren said. “It’s always nice to get a win and they did a good job playing a fast and physical game that helped them set the tone. I was happy with the effort.”
Three losses and a tie had mounted since LDC’s last victory, which occurred Jan. 29 at Marshall. The 3-3 stalemate with Hutchinson, a 7-1 loss to Orono, a 5-1 setback to Delano and a late rally fallen short against Hutch again 5-4 brought the record back down to earth after a 4-0-1 start to the season.
The Dragons put the pressure on the offensive zone from the outset. LDC allowed just 11 shots on goal for the entire game and held the Eagles scoreless until the 5:31 mark of the third period. Jack Hillmann got the separation needed to hold the lead with two even strength goals in the second period. Kennedy scored five minutes into the third frame, but Gavin Hanson scored at the 7:26 mark to get the two-goal lead back. Logan Benson and Wyatt Larson netted shots within 10 seconds of each other late in the third to cement a final score of 5-1.
Seven different players tallied assists and four different players had goals in the game, a display of sharing the puck that could have been even more diverse with plenty of close shots that missed off rebounds near the net. That’s been an emphasis lately for the Dragons to put pressure on the opposing defense and goaltender.
“We have been working in practice on getting more guys in front of the net and trying to get more goals off of rebounds,” Berggren said. “We have also been focusing on getting more shots in the slot area and being more physical in the tough areas. We did a good job in all of these areas on Saturday. We will continue to work on them and keep improving as we enter the second half of the regular season.”
A result of that offensive push was just one Kennedy shot on goal in the second period while also gaining momentum back after a penalty kill.
With the win, LDC is 5-3-2 with eight games remaining in the regular season including one against Redwood Valley, the team directly chasing them in the section standings. Some momentum shifting back in the right direction after a three-week, four-game skid gives them the juice to keep playing fast and physical, as Berggren observed and was happy with Saturday.
For the complete story and more Herald Journal sports coverage, check out the Feb. 26 edition of the Herald Journal. Click here for subscription information.
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