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Blackhawk skaters go 3-0 on the week

By Brian Nadeau

Throughout the season, in any sport, there are highs and lows, and critical moments that may not seem that way when they occur.

The Blackhawk hockey team may have just completed a stretch that fits that description and answered any questions there may have been about their resiliency.

The week began with the Blackhawks traveling to Somerset and taking the ice for the first time after a lopsided loss to New Richmond. The Blackhawks needed to right the ship quickly and move forward.

The game started with Somerset notching the first two goals of the game, the first a minute in, and it did not look good early for the Blackhawks.

The Blackhawks generated pressure in the Somerset zone near the end of the first period, and that appeared to carry over.

Coming out after the first intermission and facing a 2-0 deficit, the Blackhawks answered immediately when Mitchell Hurtgen scored at 0:23 with assists going to Landon Albrightson and Cole Stevens.

The Spartans wasted little time, scoring the next two goals in less than three minutes, to stretch the lead to 4-1. Luke Meyer struck next, scoring at 5:37 with assists going to Gavin Hessler and Brandon Connett.

The Spartans were then assessed a five-minute major penalty, followed by a minor penalty and the Hawks were skating 5-on-3. Albrightson scored to cut the deficit to 4-3. Assisting on the goal were Hurtgen and Connett.

Late in the second period the Spartans scored an unassisted goal to make it 5-3 and the Blackhawks had their work cut out for them in the final frame. In the third, both teams exchanged pressure, and it appeared the goal-scoring flurry had ended, but that was only true for one team.

At 7:38, Albrightson scored from Connett and Hurtgen making it a one-goal deficit once more. Twelve seconds later, a fresh line knotted the game at 5-5 with Mitchell Larson scoring, assisted by Gavin Hessler and Luke Meyer.

The Blackhawks went on the power play shortly thereafter, and despite not connecting, the pressure created by the Hawks in the Somerset zone remained steady, and at 12:32, Brandon Connett scored with an assist to Tucker Nauss, and the Blackhawks took their first lead of the game 6-5.

After a Somerset timeout, and a 6-on-5 attack from the Spartans with an empty net, Hessler was able to put the icing on the cake 7-5 with the empty-netter at 16:36.

Next up for the Blackhawks was the Siren Co-op, which is a Middle Border Conference match-up as well. After surrendering a goal a minute and a half into the game, the Blackhawks reeled off the next four goals, racing out to a 4-1 lead.

Albrightson scored first to tie the game at 1-1, assisted by Hurtgen. Albrightson then struck again unassisted to take the lead 2-1.

Larson made it 3-1 with an assist to Hessler, and then the power play unit led by Meyer made it 4-1 with assists being credited to Hessler and Larson.

The Blizzard were able to notch one more goal in the first period, and it ended with the Blackhawks up 4-2. A minute and a half into the second period, Albrightson completed his hat trick making it 5-2 with assists to Hurtgen and Connett.

The Blizzard then went on the attack scoring on the power play and then even-strength to make it 5-4 in favor of the Hawks.

Late in the second, the Blackhawks were able to capitalize on the power play with Connett scoring assisted by Meyer.

That lead was short-lived as the Blizzard answered thirteen seconds later, making it 6-5. For the second game in a row, the third period belonged to the Blackhawks.

Hessler scored at 9:04 to make it 7-5 and was assisted by Connett and Meyer. Larson then closed out the scoring at 11:10 assisted by Hessler, and the Blackhawks moved to 4-3 in MBC action with the 8-5 victory.

Rounding out the week, the Blackhawks traveled to West St. Paul to take on the Warriors of Sibley High School in a non-conference battle.

The Warriors struck first and controlled the opening period, leading 2-0 after the first. At 10:56 of the second, Albrightson continued his torrid pace of late with a goal, making it 2-1. Meyer and Hessler assisted on the goal.

After a Sibley score, making it 3-1, the Blackhawks answered with two of their own, tying the game at 3-3 after two periods of play. Albrightson netted the second goal with an assist to Connett, and then defenseman Leo Rasmussen scored on a laser from the point, assisted by Connett and Albrightson.

The Blackhawks took their first lead of the game at 10:30 of the third when Meyer scored to make it 4-3. Assisting on the goal were Albrightson and Connett. Sibley answered two minutes later and the game was back to even with 4:11 to play.

The Blackhawks wasted little time reclaiming the lead, when Hurtgen scored 25 seconds later, assisted by Nauss and Albrightson.

Again the Blackhawks had to fend off the extra attacker, as Sibley pulled their goalie and the pressure was on in the Hawks’ zone.

Albrightson was able to get the puck on his stick as time was winding down, and lofted the puck over the Sibley defense, all the way to the other end, and into the net for his second hat trick of the week, and a 7-5 final. Connett was credited with an assist on the final tally.

The three-game sweep moves the Blackhawks to 11-6 overall, and 4-3 in the Middle Border Conference. The Blackhawks continue action next week with 3-game homestand with Amery, Altoona, and Regis/McDonnell.