by Scott DCamp
Thief River Falls failed to capitalize on multiple third period scoring opportunities while being shut out 1-0 by Alexandria in a Class A state hockey quarterfinal game Wednesday night at the Xcel Energy Center in St. Paul.
“It just wasn’t happening tonight,” said Thief River Falls Head Coach Tim Bergland. “I thought in the third period we showed a little bit of life. Whether that’s credit to them, or us not executing, finally in the third we had some looks. We didn’t seem to hit the net. We had a couple of our better players walking through the slot with some good shots and they didn’t go in.”
The Prowlers and Cardinals skated to a scoreless tie after 17 minutes were in the books. Shots on goal were fairly even, with the Prowlers holding an 8-7 advantage.
Alexandria got on the board with the game’s only goal at the 3:07 mark of the second period. Thief River Falls was caught out of position defensively, and Alexandria forward Jack Westlund scored the goal, with assists credited to Andrew Revering and Caleb Strong.
A delayed call on a Jace Jorde tripping penalty briefly gave Alexandria a six on five advantage before the power play officially began. The Prowlers successfully killed the Cardinals’ only power play of the game and went into the second intermission down 1-0. Overall, the Cardinals held an 11-1 advantage in shots on goal in the second stanza.
“Second period was the period where I thought we just didn’t show up,” Bergland said. “Credit them for executing.”
In the third period, Thief River Falls came to life offensively, out-shooting Alexandria 10-3, but the Prowlers couldn’t find the net.
Alexandria survived back-to-back power plays that began 37 seconds into the third period, including an 18-second span where Thief River Falls had a 5-on-3 advantage.
Overall, Alexandria held a 21-19 shot advatage. Alexandria goaltender Jackson Boline finished with 19 saves while recording the shutout.
With the loss, Thief River Falls had a little more than 12 hours to regroup and get ready for defending state runner-up Monticello.
Bergland said the loss is obviously disappointing, but pointed out that Monticello is also reeling after a close loss to defending state champion Hermantown a few hours prior.
“You tell them how important tomorrow is,” Bergland said. “It’s a tough game to play. Monticello is in the same situation. It’s quite a downer for losing the game, but ultimately, three teams are going to come away with wins and we want to be one of them.”
Alexandria 1, Thief River Falls 0
First period – No Scoring
Second period – Alexandria, Jack Westlund (Andrew Revering, Caleb Strong) 3:07.
Third period – No scoring
Shots – Thief River Falls 8-1-10 – 19; Alexandria 7-11-3 – 21
Power plays – Thief River Falls 0/2; Alexandria 0/1.
Penalties – Thief River Falls 1 (2 minutes); Alexandria 2 (4 minutes)
Goalies – Thief River Falls, Nick Corneliusen 20 saves; Alexandria, Jackson Boline 19 saves.