A jubilant bunch
The Maple Grove Energy took a step closer to moving on to the second round of the MNJHL playoffs by defeating the Edina Lakers, 5-1, on Wednesday afternoon. The crowd was modest for the 1:30 pm start, as was expected, but the Energy gave the fans who actually made it there a treat. Lakers goalie Matiss Kivlenieks made life difficult for two periods, but the Energy found their way past him for five third period goals. Both teams will now get a rest until Sunday night when they meet again for game 2.
Maple Grove couldn't have started any better than they did, but so did starting Edina goalie Matiss Kivlenieks. The first 5 minutes started slowly, but the action picked up after the first penalty was issued. Maple Grove stayed on the attack much of the first period and peppered Kivlenieks with shot after shot. However, after one full period of play the score remained 0-0. The Energy outshot the Lakers by a wide 20-1 margin.
The Energy did much of the same in the second period, but also gave Edina some chances and actually gave them more than one shot. One of those shots came from a turnover that produced a goal. Micheal Pederson's fantastic individual effort gave the Lakers a 1-0 lead and stunned the crowd of over 30 on hand. Shots were 35-10 after two periods, but somehow the Energy trailed.
The Energy looked like a determined bunch in the third period and seemed to play with a sense of urgency. Kendall Bolen-Porter got the Energy off to a great start early in the period when he picked up a rebound and put it past the brick wall. Less than four minutes later, Matt Benolkin redirected a puck past Kivlenieks to give the Energy their first lead of the game. The goals kept coming for the Energy. A little more than four minutes later it would be Austin Hill that tried to just put a wrist shot on net that ended up hitting a skate and going in through the five-hole on Kivlenieks. Travis Ricci would get in on the action when he cleaned up a rebound in front of the net and gave a salute to the crowd. The 4-1 lead was not enough for Maple Grove. Maple Grove was able to show off some passing and Kendall Bolen-Porter was able to finish and grab his second goal of the game. Gavin Smith assisted on that goal as well as two others on the day. Maple Grove comes away with a big 5-1 win in front of what was a tension filled and nervous crowd.
To view the boxscore, go here.
The second game of this three game series goes to Edina now. Maple Grove will have a chance to advance when these two teams meet again on Sunday night. Game time is 7pm.
Good luck to the black and yellow!
Crusaders eek one out setting up a possible showdown in the 2nd round
The Maple Grove Energy were not able to finish the season strong, dropping their third contest in a row on Saturday night to the Hudson Crusaders. The 3-2 win for Hudson helped them gain the third seed for the MNJHL playoffs which will be coming next week. That could set up a possible second round match-up with these two teams.
Hudson started off short-handed, as three of their top players were called up to the Minnesota Magicians of the NAHL. The flow was good in the first period with few stoppages and just two penalties. The Energy could not capitalize on their two power play chances, but would get a goal late in the period. Gavin Smith put one past starter Jordan Langness for his 21st goal of the season over the right shoulder, giving the Energy a 1-0 lead. Maple Grove outshot the Crusaders 17-8 in the period.
Things seemed to be going the Energy's way in the second period until a questionable call gave the Crusaders a penalty shot. Luke Bing took the shot and beat goalie Brian Anderson for the tying goal. It was only :29 later when Hudson would take the lead thanks to Justin Ruedesbusch. Hudson would go into a defensive shell after that and Maple Grove started to attack. The Energy would get pressure, but not much was able to get through to Langness.
The Energy would need an equalizer in the third period. They found it when Eric Ylitalo knocked one in during a scramble in front of the net. The game was tied for only two minutes as Hudson found an answer. Pat Herbert was left alone in the slot and picked his spot for the game winner past Anderson. The Energy would pull Anderson for the extra attacker, but just couldn't get a decent chance off. Hudson held on to win, 3-2.
With the regular season over, the Energy finish with an impressive 31-13-2 overall record, the best in franchise history. Now they look for another franchise best and franchise first: a playoff series win and an advance to the second round. The team in their way will be the Edina Lakers. Game one is Wednesday at 1:30pm. The game will be broadcast live on MSBN. Help cheer on your Energy!
A group of Owls is known as a Study...
The last place Minnesota Owls proved that games don't always go as they should. For the Maple Grove Energy, a win would have been nice for momentum heading into the playoffs. Neither team can move up or down in the standings, but the Owls got the points anways. Sam Nelson was outstanding in net, stopping 45 of 47 shots in the Owls 3-2 win over the Energy on Sunday night.
The game started well as the Owls gave Maple Grove a few power plays early in the first period. The Energy could not convert and ended up giving the Owls a few chances on the power play. Zach Foesch would convert the second power play of the night for the Owls, beating starter Zach Larson, and giving them the lead. Maple Grove would outshoot the Owls 16-11, but Nelson was strong in net all night for the Owls.
The Energy would stay out of the box in the second period, but still could not keep the Owls off the board. Jimmy Mayer netted an even strength goal at 11:27 of the second period to increase the lead to 2-0. The Energy totally dominated the period otherwise, outshooting the Owls 18-3 in the second, but just couldn't get one by Nelson.
Things changed for the better for Maple Grove in the third period. The Energy got a special teams goal as Gavin Smith put one past Nelson short-handed to cut the lead in half at 2-1. A little over 5 minutes later, Austin Hill would tie the game at 2. The momentum was finally with the Energy as they looked to steal one at the end from the Owls. Foesch had other plans and scored his second goal of the night with just 1:15 left in the game. It would hold up, as the Owls defeated the Energy 3-2 in front of a stunned crowd at the Maple Grove Community Center. Zach Larson stopped 21 of 24 shots in the loss. The loss is the Energy's second straight and fifth in their last seven.
To see the game sheet, go here .
The Energy have just one more game left before the playoffs start and will be hosting the Hudson Crusaders on Saturday night at 7pm. See you there!
Ice Hawks get one in Maple Grove
The Rochester Ice Hawks hadn't had much luck with beating the Maple Grove Energy this season, going 0 for 5 in their previous meetings. The Ice Hawks finally got one, beating the Energy 3-1 at the Maple Grove Community Center.
It was a good crowd at the MGCC, even with the recent bout of rough weather. Brian Anderson would get the start in net and was looking to continue his hot streak from Wednesday night. Anderson stopped 38 shots in a victory over the Northern Lights. The Energy started off well when Austin Burt netted his 15th goal of the season by cleaning up a rebound given up by goaltender Rainer Londino-Green. Rochester decided to focus their frustration on Travis Ricci, harassing him whenever possible. Maple Grove had a decided lead in shots of 10-3 after the first period.
The lead was gone when Ludo Duncko put in his own rebound during the middle of the second period. Then, just over two minutes later, Rochester struck again. This time it would be a rocket wrist shot from resident agitator Brandon Vitale. The Ice Hawks did not look back after that. Rochester took the lead in shots after the second period 18-16.
The third period the Energy looked for a comeback and got their chances, but could not convert. This included a six on four power play with the goalie pulled with less than two minutes to go. That would turn into a short-handed empty net goal to seal it for Rochester. Final score, 3-1 Ice Hawks.
To see the box score, go here.
The Energy have now lost 4 of their last 6 with just 2 games left in the regular season. Both games are at home, starting with tonight's games vs. the Owls at 7 pm. The season finale is March 1st against Hudson.
The Energy finally beat the Northern Lights at home
The Maple Grove Energy got a much needed win on Wednesday night at the Maple Grove Community Center, getting a 5-3 win over the third place Twin Cities Northern Lights. Kendall Bolen-Porter scored two goals and Brian Anderson recorded 38 saves to highlight the win. A loss by the Energy would have meant a dog fight for the second seed in the upcoming playoffs, but the Energy were able to put some distance between the two teams with the victory.
The Energy would host the Northern Lights in the smaller second rink at MGCC, so something different for the Energy. The start was fast for Maple Grove as Bolen-Porter snapped off a wrister that beat starting goalie Nick Kazmierczak up high, just 1:20 into the period. The Northern Lights would answer quickly with a Tony Pnewski power play goal less than two minutes later. The Lights would then take the lead midway through the period with another power play goal from Will Mix. Dalton Genat would find the back of the net for the Energy to tie it up again with just :28 left in the period.
The Energy would regain the lead with two goals 1:27 apart in the middle of the second period. First, a power play goal from Gavin Smith and then a goal from Eric Ylitalo, who drove hard to the net and crashed into Kazmierczak. Jake Gallivan would close the gap to 4-3 a little later making for an interesting finish to this game.
KBP netted his second goal on a great one-timer to give the Energy a two goal lead early in the third period. The score would remain that way as Brian Anderson stayed sharp throughout, making many key saves. As time ticked down, many fans waited for the Lights to pull their goalie, but they never did. 5-3 would be the final. The Energy improve to 31-10-2 with the win.
To see the box score, go here.
The Energy have just three games left, all of them at home. The next game will be on Saturday as the Energy play host to the Rochester Ice Hawks. They will be back the next night to face the Minnesota Owls. Game time is 7pm for both days.
They should be recognized!
In the spirit of playing catch-up, we are doing two months worth of players of the month for the Maple Grove Energy. The Energy are proud to name Travis Ricci and Matt Benolkin the offensive and defensive players of the month for December. The January players of the month are Cody Vanthournout and Brady Devescovi. All caught up. Now here is why...
Travis Ricci makes a strong case for himself to player of the month for most every month. In December, he recorded two goals and six assists in six December games. Matt Benolkin has been making his case every since joining the Energy this season. He has quickly become one of the top defenseman on the team. In December he put up four points, including one goal against Edina on 12-20. Both these players were able to take some time and answer a few questions...here they are.
Maple Grove Energy- What are you looking to get out of your time here in Maple Grove? And do you think you will get that?
Travis Ricci- Well, I'm looking to be the leader on my team, knowing my role as captain. I have to go into each and every shift giving it my all. Second, I hope to get some type exposure by a division 3 school and play for them next year. Yes, I do think I will get that because we have a great staff on board that will help each and every player get to where they want to go.
MGE- What do you say to people that say you are too small to play hockey past juniors?
TR- I have been hearing that at every level and I love to prove them wrong. I just tell people that size doesn't matter. It's not about the size of the player, but what the player has in him. I look at Nathan Gerber as a role model because he is only 5'5 in the NHL and a guy like that gives me hope to keep striving towards my goals. And like the Lord told Samuel, don't look at the appearance of the man, look at the heart. For me, being my size, I think that is a perfect verse. People are going to say, ah, he is too small to play or he can't have a long career, or he's not strong enough. I look at it and and say, ah I might not be, but I don't let that effect my game.
MGE- How far do you think you guys can go this season?
TR- This season is great and I think we can all the way to nationals with the team we got. But we can't look at it like that. We have to go into each game like it's our last and keep on rolling from that.
Here is questions for a quick interview with Matt Benolkin....
MGE- How hard/easy was it to go from team to team this year?
MB- It was pretty tough adjusting to the level of play in different leagues, but overall pretty easy transition.
MGE- What part of your game to you take the most pride in?
MB- I take huge pride in my skating and making a first pass. I think it's the best things a defenseman can have.
MGE- What are your plans beyond junior hockey?
MB- College hockey doesn't seem like it's in the cards for me so I'm just going to work for my family's business at Westwood sports!
The January players made their impacts known and helped the team have an undefeated month. Vanthournout is a big sized forward, but his physical play was second to his scoring prowess. He netted a hat trick against Edina on 1-17 and had six points in just three games in January. Devescovi has been solid on the defensive end all year, but got off to a great start in 2014. He has not recorded so far in 2014 and only 14 minutes all season long.
Here are the interviews with these players of the month for January 2014...First Cody.
MGE- With your size, do you consider yourself a power forward and like the physical part or with your recent hat trick do you like being the guy putting the puck in the net?
CV- I consider my self a power forward, I leave the scoring to my linemates
MGE- Do you think you have gotten better as the year has progressed? If so, how?
CV- Yes, I have become a more powerful skater and a better stick handler
MGE- Do you plan on returning to the Energy next season if you are not in school?
CV- Yes, if they want me. hahaha
Here is the interview with Brady...
MGE- With only 14 penalty minutes this season, how do you stay so disciplined?
BD- I try to stay out of the box because penalties only hurt the team.
MGE- You have a big time shot. How much do you work on it?
BD- When I was younger I worked on my shot a lot at the outdoor rinks, now I try to work on parts of my game that need more work.
MGE- Any thought to what's next after this season?
BD- Next season I want to play college hockey. I have no clue where yet.
Congrats to the December and January players of the month and we thank them for the time they gave to answer our questions. Keep up your strong play!
The Energy could have used more than one time out on Sunday
It was not the outcome most had predicted. The Steele County Blades came into Magle Grove Community Center and put it on a lethargic Energy squad on Sunday night. A final of 7-3 left fans scratching their heads and left coaches and players feeling disgruntled. Brian Anderson would start in net, but would not finish the game after giving up five goals in a period and a half. Adam Ranck had a much better night for the Blades, stopping 34 of 37 shots to get the win.
The Energy were looking to rebound from a loss to the Hudson Crusaders the night before and did get off to a nice start. Eric Ylitalo finished off a two- on -one when he got a nice feed from Travis Ricci and put it past Ranck on the backhand. The Blades would answer with two goals in a span of 1:11, one of those on the power play, to give the visitors the lead. Special teams would play a big part for the Blades in this game.
In the second period, the Blades were able to group together another batch of goals. This time it would be three goals in a matter of less than five minutes, to give the the Blades a 5-1 lead. A stunned crowd watched as Anderson would be pulled from the game as coach Don Babineau looked for a spark. Two of the three goals were on the power play, and thanks to some physical play, that meant a few Energy players in the box. Whether or not you agree with the calls, the Energy still could not seem to kill off any penalties. The Energy would get a late goal in the period when Austin Hill grinded out a goal in a pile up in front of the Blades net. The chance for some momentum going into the locker room was shot when the Blades scored yet another power play goal, a five- on- three, with one second left in the period. Steele County was going to open the third period with a 6-2 lead.
Things went from bad to worse when the Blades converted on another power play that had carried over from the second period. Tristyn Sabina got his second goal of the night making it 7-2. The Energy would get a goal late in the period off of a three-on-one that Brady Devescovi would put away to give the final score of 7-3.
It was a rough game for many who may have thought this would be a game to get back on track. It would do the opposite, giving Maple Grove their second losing streak of the season.
It will be interesting to see how the Energy answers as they play the same Blades team in Owatonna on Valetines Day. Maple Grove will again look for win number 30 on the season.
To view the boxscore, go here.
The Maple Grove Energy hosted an epic battle between the top two teams in the Minnesota division of the MNJHL on Sunday night, but came up short in a 3-2 loss. A Jimmy Buckingham third period goal proved to be the difference and with the two points the Dells Ducks leapfrogged the Energy into first place.
There was a good crowd on hand for the 3pm start and it seemed the fans would be treated to an excellent game. Eric Ylitalo started things off when he pounced on a loose puck in front of the net and put it past Ducks' goalie Robert Meadows. The period had good flow to it and had very few whistles. Dells had a slight shot advantage at 9-7 after one period.
The second period featured a few really nice individual efforts. Dells would tie the game up when a shot from inside the blue line found the back of the net through a high screen and past starter Zach Larson. The Energy goalie contended that the puck was played with a high stick, but the refs counted it. Maple Grove would re-take the lead when Travis Ricci snapped off a wrister while being blanketed by a defender. His shot found the top corner in one of his prettier goals this year. The Ducks would tie it up again when Jacob Stima worked in close and put a backhander in the top shelf past Larson. Dells allowed just four shots in the second period and had a wide shot lead, 23-11, after two periods.
The third period was mared by a few no-calls. In fact, there were only three penalties called all game. Jimmy Buckingham would get the even strength game winner on a nice backhander that found the top corner. The Energy were able to pull Larson for an extra attacker, but could not come up with an equalizer. The win gave the Ducks the season series sweep and bumped their record up to 26-4. The loss brings the Energy down to 25-8-1.
To see the game sheet, go here.
The Energy will be back in action January 17th against Edina.
Dominant performance for the Energy
The Maple Grove Energy scored two goals each period to crush the visiting Edina Lakers, 6-0, on Friday night at the Maple Grove Community Center. The Energy dominated the offensive zone and consistently put pressure on starting goalie Matiss Kivlenieks. Zach Larson got the shutout for the Energy, his second of the year and Eric Ylitalo put up three points to lead the team offensively.
The first period didn't really pick up until the middle of the first. The Energy went on the game's first power play and cashed in quickly. Dalton Genat cleaned up on a loose puck and put his team in front. Genat would later come to find that would stand to be the game winner. Then, 45 seconds later, it would be Buddy Napier going five hole on Kivlenieks to give the Energy a two goal lead. Maple Grove dominated the offensive zone and dominated the shots as well, leading 20-7 after one period.
The second period started much like the first, with another power play goal, this time from Eric Ylitalo. Then later in the period while on a four on four, Christian Smith took a one-timer and found the top corner past Kivlenieks to give Maple Grove a big 4-0 lead. The Energy had a 33-15 shots advantage to end the second period.
Tannor Bradison, a former goalie of Maple Grove, found himself making his Laker debut to start the third period. Ylitalo tested him right away and put one past Bradison on a wrister, even though he got a piece of it. Then just 2:15 later it was Matt Benolkin would would tip in a loose puck through the five hole. Bradison stopped only one of the first three shots he saw, but would warm up later and make some nice saves. That would wrap up the scoring, as the Lakers seemed willing to accept their fate and content to just skate out the remaining time in the period. 6-0 final. Zach Larson made 27 saves for the shutout.
To see the boxscore of this game, go here.
The Energy travel to Rochester on Saturday and then come back home Sunday to play host to the Ducks. One versus two should not be missed! Fans can stick around after the game on Sunday to see the MNJHL All-Star game which starts at 7pm. Check out the teams for the North and the South here .
Sam Nelson couldn't keep Maple Grove off the board forever
The Maple Grove Energy overcame a stellar performance from Minnesota Owl goaltender Sam Nelson to squeak out a 4-3 win at home on Sunday night. In a battle of first versus worst, the outcome was an easy victory for the Energy. It would be anything but easy, as the Energy would have to come from behind in the third period to win this one. Kendall Bolen-Porter shined, scoring two goals, including the game-winner, and getting the number one star of the game.
Maple Grove started off well and actually dominated the first period. It all started when Gavin Smith got a piece of a Christian Smith shot from the blue line. Nelson would get a piece of it, but not enough from stopping the shot from trickling through for the game's first goal. Eric Ylitalo and Kendall Bolen-Porter worked well together to get the second goal, with Ylitalo serving up KBP nicely on a rush. The period eneded with a 2-0 Energy lead and a sizeable edge in shots at 21-8.
In the second period the script was flipped. The Owls got their first goal off the power play in a play that looked like Brian Anderson got screened by his own man. Stephen Kelly got the goal for the Owls. Then it was a great individual effort by Zach Foesch to get a turnover in the Energy zone and go top corner on Anderson to tie it up at two. The Owls also had a slight shot advantage, 13-12, in shots for the second period.
The Owls would take the lead for the first time in the game at the 9:40 mark when Foesch swept in a loose puck in front of the Energy net. This had the Isanti fans going nuts. The Energy would tie this game up at 12:47 of the period when a Matt Benolkin shot was redirected by Eric Ylitalo, beating a very game Sam Nelson. Five minutes later it would be a three on one rush finishing with Gavin Smith feeding KBP for the game winner. That goal with 2:12 left would give Maple Grove a victory and keep the winning streak alive at four straight games. The Energy fought through a heck of a game from Sam Nelson, who has given the energy trouble in the past.
To see the game sheet, go here.
The Energy get 12 days before returning to action December 20th at home against the Edina Lakers.
A dog fight early on, but Maple Grove outlasts the Blades
The Maple Grove Energy had to come storming back from down 3-1, but managed to get a 5-3 win over a tough Steele County team on Friday night in Maple Grove. The Energy were sparked by a three goal outburst in the second period that was done in about six and a half minutes. Zach Larson was able to shut down the Blades, by not allowing a goal after the 1:30 mark of the second period. Travis Ricci and Logan Hulse each had a goal and an assist to lift the offense. The win gives Maple Grove a five point lead over second place Dells in the Minnesota division.
The Energy got off to a good start when Travis Ricci was able to get to a loose puck in front of the net and slip it past Blades goaltender Kenny Eakles. The lead would dissolve thanks to multiple power play opportunities by Steele County leading to two goals. The result would be a 2-1 deficit after the first period. The Blades also outshot the Energy 10-6.
The second period started off rough as well. Early in the period, at the 1:30 mark, Brandon Mills finished off a nice rush for the Blades, putting them in front 3-1. Things stayed like that until the 12:10 mark when Eric Ylitalo ripped a nasty little wrist shot into the top corner, beating Eakles and cutting the lead to one. Austin Hill followed that with a wrister of his own to tie it up at three. The third line would even get into the action in the last half of the second period. Jake Lichty crashed the net and popped one over Eakles to give Maple Grove their first lead since early in the first period. With four goals, the Energy still trailed in shots, 23-14.
In the third period, the Energy would fight through two game ejections, as Jake Lichty and Martin Danielcak would hit the showers early for a elbow and check from behind. The penalty kill rose to the challenge and killed off all the penalties including a five on three that lasted a full two minutes. The Energy got an insurance goal on the power play from Logan Hulse to end the game and secure the two points.
With the win the Energy bring their record up to 22-7-1, while Steele County dropped to 8-13-1. The Energy now have a three game win streak.
Next up is another home game against the Minnesota Owls on Sunday night at 7pm.
Gavin and Zach know practice makes perfect
The Maple Grove Energy were happy to announce their players of the month for November 2013. Gavin Smith, the team's leading point getter, got the offensive player nod. For the defensive side, goalie Zach Larson got the award. Smith tallied 11 points during the month of November, including a three assist effort against Rochester on November 1st. Larson had three wins in the month, including a 41 save effort against the Ice Hawks on the first of the month. Here are a few questions wer asked Zach Larson about his recent performance.
MGE- Is there a routine or any special prep you do before each start?
Zach Larson- I really don't have any one or few things I do before my starts. I try and get a good night sleep the night before, eat good that morning and just go through what I need to do to be successful in my head.
MGE-What is one thing you pride yourself on with your game?
ZL- I try and pride myself on challenging shooters to make myself big.Being a smaller goalie I have to make myself look big. I try to also control all my rebounds and make it easier on my defense because they already do a great job.
MGE- Is there a healthy competition between you and Brian Anderson?
ZL- I love Ando. Him and I have become really really close. In practice we always push each other to be the best. We're always trying to point out things to each other that are good and also stuff we can work on. I want him to do well every start he gets and I know he wants the same for me. I Can't say I've had a better goalie partner then Brian.
Here is a few questions we asked Gavin...
MGE- Not only did you score quite a bit in November (11 pts.) but you have been scoring consistently throughout the year. How do you stay so consistent?
Gavin Smith- The reason I have been so consistent is because my line mates have been helping me out to get to the right spots and get points.
MGE- Is there anything you have learned this season to bring your game up?
GS- I have learned that I need to work hard every day every shift and every game to make sure our team can win.
MGE- What is one thing you take pride in in your game?
GS- The thing I take pride in my game is playing with all my linemates and get along with all of them.
Congrats to both of our players of the month, they did outstanding in their month of November!
The Maple Grove Energy had their hands full with a very game Hudson team on Saturday night, but prevailed in a shootout. Chanhassen's Cody Vanhournot clinched the game in the seventh round of the shootout by slipping one past Hudson's Matt Goedke, giving the Energy a 2-1 win in the shootout and a 3-2 win. The victory and the two points that go with it means the Energy leapfrog Dells for the top spot in the Minnesota division of the MNJHL.
Maple Grove started off well in this one. Austin Hill put in a rebound off of a Travis Ricci shot for the game's first goal at 9:35 of the period. Jake Lichty was able to do the same late in the period with Blake Babineau getting the lone assist. With the Energy off to a 2-0 lead, things looked to be in the bag. Brian Anderson was also looking sharp in net as usual.
The script flipped in the second period. Hudson took advantage of a few power play chances and were able to climb back into the game. Luke Bing put in rebounds in both power play goals at 14:42 and 17:05 to tie the game at two. Shots were also tied after two periods at 19 a piece.
The third period was to be the deciding period...or was it? Both teams had their chances on the power play, but both goalies seemed to make save after save like they were challenging each other. So we would then head to overtime.
Overtime would remain as tight as the third period. There were no goals once again, sending it to a shootout.
In the shootout Austin Hill got one in as the first shooter of the Energy, giving Maple Grove a quick 1-0 lead. Hudson would tie it up with Nick Smallidge getting one in the third round. It wasn't until the 7th round when Cody Vanthournot finally got one past Goedke to give Maple Grove the extra point.
To see the score sheet, go here.
Maple Grove is in action next on December 1st to face the Northern Lights in Bloomington. The next home game is December 6th against Steele County.
Another close one with these two teams
The Maple Grove Energy and Twin Cities Northern Lights played shot for shot on Friday night, but it would be third period penalties that would prove to be the difference in a 2-1 loss. Maple Grove never led, although they had their chances, but another stellar performance by 'Lights goalie Paul Ciaccio kept them off the scoreboard.
The first period had a fast and flowing pace to it. It seemed like the game was in running time, with few whistles. There would be no scoring, but there was good end to end action. Zach Larson got the start in net and looked sharp early on, shutting down the Northern Lights chances. The Energy had a small 9-7 advantage in shots after the first period.
In the second period the Northern Lights would get on the board first. Brandon Beard struck early in the period when he put a hard wrist shot into the upper corner past the glove of Larson. Six minutes later the Energy would answer back. Travis Ricci jumped on a rebound off of a Austin Hill shot and put it past Ciaccio. It would remained tied at one after two full periods.
The the final period, a slew of penalties were called on the Energy. Maple Grove had two penalties through two periods of play, but had seven called on them in the third period alone. The Northern Lights power play looked very pedestrian, but they had enough chances and finally got a power play goal. Andrew Bergquist tallied the game winner for the Northern Lights with just 3:37 left in the game. After another penalty was called on the Energy, coach Don Babineau had had enough and let the ref have it which lead to his ejection. The Northern Lights finished the game with a five on three power play.
Both teams finished with 28 shots for the game. To see the boxscore, go here.
The Energy are back in action tonight, hosting the Hudson Crusaders. Game time is 7pm.
A narrow victory in exciting fashion
The Maple Grove Energy never had the lead, but still managed a win in a game that went to a shootout. The Energy overcame a huge game from goaltender Brandan Alcorn and a two goal deficit early on to get the two points and move to the top of the standings.
It was a different team that came to play when the Ice Hawks came to town Sunday night. Rochester came out a bit more tempered and wanting to conserve energy. Their pace paid off in the form of two goals within two minutes of each other in the middle of the period. Ludo Duncko and Trey McMillen put pucks past Brian Anderson from near point blank range to put the Hawks up 2-0. Austin Hill would answer for the Energy when he put a wrister past Alcorn :23 after Rochester had got their second goal. The Energy dominated the shots on goal, 18-8, but it was Rochester who had the lead at 2-1 going into the first intermission.
Rochester got the lead back up to two when Nikolas Marconcini put a quick shot past Anderson right off the faceoff. The energy would answer back quickly again. This time Vlad Makorevych would answer in just over a minute with his 12th goal of the season. Later in the period, Blake Babineau would tie the game when he put one in the top corner on the power play. The Energy would again dominate the shoes in the period, leading 15-4 for the second period.
The third period seemed to favor Maple Grove as well, and would again in the shot department. Alcorn would continue to keep Rochester in the game with his stellar play and move this game to overtime.
In overtime, Rochester looked to be the fresher bunch earlier on and gave pressure on Brain Anderson. Both teams would end up hitting the post in the five mintues overtime period, giving the fans some serious 'oooh's and ahh's', but no goals. It would be decided by a shootout.
Gavin Smith had a highlight worthy, Sports Center type goal and Matt Benolkin finished off the Hawks with the last shot of the fifth round to give the energy the win.Brain Anderson was also very sharp in the shootout, giving up just one goal to the five shooters. The streak is now at seven straight wins and 13 straight games with at least one point.
To check out the box score, go here.
The Energy get a little break before returning November 22nd to host the Northern Lights.
Talent in black and yellow
The Maple Grove Energy were happy to announce the players of the month for the month of October. Austin Hill is the defensive player of the month, while Austin Burt gets it as the offensive player.
Burt, from Minnetonka, collected six points during the month including a game-winner over Steele County on 10-12. We asked him a few questions about him and his rise to stardom with the Energy:
MGE- How long did it take for you to adjust to the MNJHL? How different is it from High School?
AB- To adjust to the MNJHL it took a little while because the style of play is much different from high school hockey. The play is more physical and not as much finesse with the puck as it was in high school.
MGE- When did you think you really started gelling with your linemates (Gavin Smith, Blake Babineau)?
AB- With my new line mates we were able to play well with each other and understand how each of us play pretty quickly.
MGE- Is there a team you really get up to play in the MJ?
AB- Not really. I pretty much look at every game as just being the same because they're all worth two points.
Austin has started quickly in November as well, scoring five goals in the first three games of the month. Watch out for this guy!
Austin Hill, from Savage, is a big guy at six foot two, but isn't all about physical play. He racked up six points in October including one game winner the night before Halloween. here is what he had to say about his success in the MNJHL...
MGE- You lead the team in points for defenseman(16). Do you like to focus on your offense?
AH- Everything starts in the defensive zone, keeping pucks out of the net is the most important thing. If you can't play good defense you aren't going to win many games. As a defenseman though I do like to jump up in the play and get offensive when I have the opportunity.
MGE- You also seem to keep your nose clean with only 10 penalty minutes for the whole season. Is staying out of the box something you pride yourself on?
AH- I do take pride in staying out of the box. I have seen many times players take stupid penalties that hurt their teams’ chances to win. I also feel that I put myself into positions that don't make me have to draw a penalties.
MGE- What is one thing you want the fans to know you for?
AH- If I would want the fans to know one thing about me is that when I go out and play hockey I try and have the most amount of fun as possible. I like to put a smile on my coaches and teammates face.
Hopefully you got to know the players of the month a little better. Keep up the good work guys and stay tuned for the newest player of the month in early December!
Maple Grove was able to take Rochester's best punch in the first period and then went on to pummel them the rest of the way en route to a 8-2 victory on Friday night. Zach Larson fending off the buzzing Ice Hawks for a period and then let the offense take over. This wild contest included one fight and four game ejections. The Energy now have at least one point in their last eight games(7-0-1) while the Ice Hawks would lose their fourth straight game.
Rochester was on a mission in the first period and came out with great energy, but Larson was up to the task between the pipes for Maple Grove. Larson would face 21 shots in the first period, allowing just one goal off a rebound. Maple Grove would answer the Ludo Duncko goal with a one time blast from defenseman Matt Benolkin. The period ended up 1-1, but the shots heavily favored Rochester, 21-9.
The second period would be owned by Maple Grove. The period started off well as Blake Babineau was able to redirect a Benolkin shot past Corey Grummick and into the back of the net. Benolkin then got his second goal of the night as a Austin Hill shot was redirected in front. Austin Burt would then add two goals of his own, one off a rebound from a Gavin Smith breakaway and then another just :17 later. The Energy would carry a 5-1 lead into the locker room, while Rochester never made it to the locker. Coach Fatis made the team stay on the bench during the second intermission. Grummick was also pulled with six minutes left in the period in favor of Brandan Alcorn.
Rochester would start off hot in the third period with a power play goal from Duncko, but that would be as close as they got. Maple Grove would add on three more goals, including a hat trick goal from Benolkin and Cal Campion's first goal in junior's. A Brady Devescovi power play goal would finish up the scoring for the night.
It was a chippy game with Vlad Makorevych getting into a fight with Rochester's Dan Trageser. Both would be ejected. The Energy also had Martin Danielcak ejected for a check from behind and Travis Ricci and Austin Burt tossed in bizarre calls from the ref in an attempt to regain some order.
Larson would get his eighth win, stopping 41 of 43 shots for the Energy. The Energy are on the road tonight in Edina and then have a stop in Bloomington on Sunday to wrap up the weekend.
The win gives Maple Grove a record of 14-6-1 and the loss drops Rochester down to 9-3-2 and down to fifth place in the MNJHL.
To view the boxscore, go here.
Two of the top teams in the MNJHL locked horns on Sunday night with the Energy hosting the Twin Cities Northern Lights. Two of the best goalies also locked horns, going save for save all the way to a seven round shootout. The end result was a crowd pleasing game, but not the finish the hometown crowd was looking for with the Energy losing 2-1 in a shootout.
The first period went at a furious pace. Maybe a bit surprising we would see that with both teams going on their third game this weekend, but it was a good flow. The Northern Lights seem to be get the offensive chances early on, but Brian Anderson was once again on his game. The Lights would finally break through on the power play. Max Techendorf was camped out in front of the net and easily put the puck in when the initial shot went off the pads of Anderson and right to Techendorf. The Lights would outshoot the Energy 15-7 in the opening period.
The pace would slow considerably in the second period. Maple Grove would get some nice chances, but goalie Paul Ciaccio was up to the task. The Energy would also get two chances on the power play in the second, but couldn't put anything past Ciaccio. The game would stay 1-0 after two periods, but the Energy had a 10-4 shot lead in that period.
In the third period, the Energy tried to get the game tying goal, but had to fend off a few power play chances from the Northern Lights. The would come down to the final minute, when the Energy pulled Anderson for the extra attacker. The move worked as Travis Ricci would tap one in just before the net was knocked loose. The came with just :23 left on the clock, as the crowd went nuts. Overtime would be played at Maple Grove Community Center for the first time this season.
In the overtime period the Energy looked like the far fresher team. The Energy had numerous chances in overtime and seemed to have the puck in the Lights zone for most of the five minute overtime. There was a shot that went off the post as well for the Energy. No goals were scored and we would go to a shootout.
In the shootout, neither team would score in the first five rounds. The Lights would score on their sixth and seventh tries and Austin Hill would get his to go on the sixth, but the last shot fell short for the Energy. A 2-1 shootout loss would be the result. Brian Anderson finished the game with 30 saves, but looked outstanding. Ciaccio had 32 saves for the Lights and was equally outstanding.
The Energy look to keep their six game unbeaten streak alive as they travel to Hudson on October 30th.
Maple Grove got their fifth straight win
The Maple Grove Energy piled on 50 shots to overwhelm the visiting Edina Lakers and come away with a 6-2 win on Saturday night. Nick Kazmierczak made 44 saves for Edina in a losing effort and Vlad Makorevych tallied a hat trick to lead the Energy. The win puts the Energy on top of the standings in the Minnesota Division with a two point lead over the Dells Ducks.
Things started quickly when Tanner Lydon got the Lakers on the board just 1:57 into the game. The quick start would not panic the Energy. Makorevych would net two goals within 1:17 to give the Energy the lead. The lead grew to 3-1 when Gavin Smith took the feed from Blake Babineau on a two on one and put it past Kazmierczak. The goal was a short handed tally with just :44 left in the period.
In the second period, it would be Edina jumping out quickly again. Bryan Grigorian would not miss on a breakaway chance to shrink the lead at 3-2 just 3:03 into the period. The Energy would not answer until late in the period when Makorevych would get his hat trick on the power play. That goal would come at 19:26.
The Energy would pull away in the third and leave no doubt. Travis Ricci netted his fifth goal on the season and then Brady Devescovi blasted one in on the power play to give Maple Grove the 6-2 win. Zach Larson would get the win for Maple Grove, stopping 18 of 20 shots.
The box score can be found here.
The Energy will wrap up the weekend with a Sunday night game against the Twin Cities Northern Lights at the Maple Grove Community Center. Game time is 7:00pm. We hope to see you there!
Goalie battle anyone?
The Maple Grove Energy got a weekend sweep by defeating the Minnesota Owls on Sunday night at the Maple Grove Community Center. The Owl's came in with just three points in their first 12 games, but played with plenty of determination and grit. Newcomer Sam Nelson gave the Energy fits, but they did get four pucks past him in a 4-2 win.
Both teams were playing the third game of the weekend, but there was no signs of fatigue in this spirited contest. The Owls would strike first when a Kyle Wagner quick turnaround shot found the back of the net and surprised starting goalie Zach Larson. It would take the Energy less than five minutes to answer when Gavin Smith used a backhander to beat Nelson for his eighth goal of the season. After one period, Maple Grove held a 14-8 shot advantage.
A rather mundane start to the second period finished in a flurry of chaos. It would be the Owls who would take the lead again at the 11:56 mark when Max Sund scored his first goal of the season. Five minutes later the Energy would answer back. Austin Burt walked in close and beat Nelson off a back-hander tying the game at two. The chippy play, especially around the crease of the Owl's goal, would trigger a fight at the end of the period. Vlad Makorevych would drop the gloves Ladd Simonson near the end of the second period after the Owl's took offense to Makorevych buzzing the tower of Sam Nelson and knocking him off his skates.
Maple Grove took control in the third period and took their first lead of the game when Brady Devescovi blasted a shot from the point through traffic past Nelson. The power play goal was a much needed boost to the team going forward. It also might have been the nail in the coffin that the Owls have come to expect. Vlad Makorevych added a insurance goal at 15:53 to give the boys and coach Don Babineau a sigh of relief.
To check out the boxscore, go here.
Zach Larson made 20 saves in the 4-2 win, while Sam Nelson made 39 saves in a losing effort. The Energy have another three game weekend coming up with a visit to Rochester and then two home games.
The Maple Grove Energy used two goals late in the second period to help propel them to a 2-1 victory over the visiting Hudson Crusaders on Friday night. Brian Anderson stopped 31 of 32 shots to best Hudson goalie and MNJHL Player of the Month Matt Goedeke, who stopped 28 shots of his own. Maple Grove defeated Hudson by the same score when these two teams met the last time.
The first period was quiet by all accounts on the stat sheet, but there was plenty of good end to end action. No scoring and zero penalties, but excellent flow and a foreshadow of the tight game it would be. Shots were very close at 7-6 in favor of Maple Grove.
Things remained scoreless until the Energy got their first power play. A bouncing puck could not be cleared and ended up on the stick of Travis Ricci. He would feed Sam Terres, but Goedeke denied the first shot. Ricci would get the puck back from the Terres shot and feed Vlad Makorevych for a one-timer that would not be denied. The power play goal came with just 3:39 left in the period. The Energy would double their lead when an Austin Hill shot from the point was redirected past Goedeke by Gavin Smith. Anderson had to make a great save at the end of the period to keep the score in tact at 2-0.
The Crusaders wouldn't go away that easy and did cut the lead to one with a pretty play from Dennis Andersson. He would set up Luke Bing for a one-timer down low to beat Anderson through the five hole. The score would hold even though Hudson did everything to tie it up in the last minute plus of the period. Goedeke was pulled for the extra attacker, but Maple Grove held strong to take away a hard earned victory. The victory stopped the Energy's three game skid and also put a halt to the Crusaders three game win streak.
Check out the boxscore here.
The Energy are back in action Saturday night to face the Steele County Blades in Owatonna and then come back home Sunday night to host the Owls.
The Maple Grove Energy announced their Players of the Month for the month of September. First year player Kendall Bolen-Porter was named Offensive Player of the Month and Brian Anderson the Defensive Player of the Month. The two players helped Maple Grove jump out to a franchise best 7-3 record to start the season.
Bolen-Porter has eight goals (which is a team high) and 14 points (tied with Vlad Makorevych for the team lead) to go along with four power play goals and four game winners. I had a chance to ask him a few questions about his early season success and here is what he had to say:
MGE- You have scored 14 points in your first 10 games. What is one reason for your fast start?
KBP- I have two great line mates (Gavin Smith , Austin Burt) that always seem to know where I am on the ice. Also, just having the mindset to Score every night.
MGE-How has coach Babineau influenced your game?
KBP- Coach has shown me ways to simplify my game and become good in all three zones.
MGE-What is it like being a smaller guy in the MNJHL?
KBP- It's hard at times being smaller against some of the bigger guys, but I don't think about it to much, I just try to play my game.
Brian Anderson seems to have started where he left off last season. Anderson was one of the stars that helped the Maple Grove Energy make the playoffs for the first time in franchise history last season and is off to a 2-0 start this year. Anderson allowed just one goal in a vicotry over the Steele County Blades and also shut out the Owls in Isanti. Anderson has stopped 63 of the 67 shots he has faced so far this season. Here is a few questions we asked him about his start this season:
MGE- You are off to a fast start once again, with one shutout and a 2-0 record. Who or what do you credit your great start to?
BA- I credit my great start to my teammates. Are team is off to a great start and hopefully we will keep it rolling.
MGE- Brian, you had such a great season with the Energy last year, do you think that magic has carried over to this year?
BA- Sure I do. I think the team has set high goals for this season as well as for everyone's individual goals. We have a good chance to go far this year.
MGE- Do you get competitive with the other goalies on the roster? Do you guys compare stats and take notes on each others performances?
BA- Yeah we compete hard against each other in practice and push each other to do better. I wouldn't say we compare stats with one another but we are all competitors and help each other perform at a high level.
Keep an eye out around the first of every month to find out the new offensive and defensive players of the month right here on energyhockey.com
The Energy got their first home win of the season
The Energy scraped their way to a hard fought and well earned victory on Friday night over the Steele County Blades. Although the Blades came into this game with an 0-6 record, no one left the building believing they were actually as bad as the record might indicate. The Energy had to rely on solid goaltending from Brian Anderson and a late game winner from Kendall Bolen-Porter to come away with the 2-1 victory.
The Energy had a chance to move into a tie with the Dells Ducks for first place with a win on the night. The first period didn't tell much. A handful of penalties and a few scoring chances resulted in zero goals. Blades goalie Adam Ranck also came prepared to play and put up a tough fight in this game. The Energy would outshoot the Blades 8-6 in the period.
The tie game would end quickly in the second period as Tristyn Sabina walked right in and made a nice move on Anderson to get the games first goal. The lead held until Travis Ricci tied the game on a shorthanded goal with just five seconds left on a Blades power play. Ricci had passed up on a shorthanded chance earlier, but made up for that by beating Ranck on the wrister. Ricci made several individual plays on the game that helped the Energy get this win. The Energy had a 25-17 lead in shots to end the second period.
In a third period that went back and forth, the Energy would get the last say. The third period had that feel that the team who scored next would win the game...that prediction would hold true. Kendall Bolen-Porter was able to find the back of the net with just 8:29 left on the clock to give Maple Grove their first lead of the game. The Energy were able to keep the puck in deep for much of the last two minutes and secure the win. With the win on Friday and their 2-1 win on Saturday night, the Energy moved into first place with a 7-3 record.
For the box score, go here.
The Energy now have a great chance to shake up the standings even more and exact some revenge as they play the Dells Ducks for three straight games at Poppy Waterman Arena. The next home game will be October 11th.
The home opener turned out to be funner than a water park at the Dells, but the outcome was not what the fans wanted on Friday night. Ian Harris had two third period goals, one an empty netter, to sink the Maple Grove Energy at the Community Center and give the Ducks a 3-1 road win.
The Ducks were able to strike first at 6:45 mark when Ian Wood was able to walk right up and get an up close shot at starting goaltender Zach Larson. Wood snuck it in just under the glove hand to give the Ducks the lead, 1-0. The Energy were able to get a few power play chances to try and tie it up, but were unsuccessful.
The Energy would tie it up on a power play when Sam Terres was able to knock in a bouncing puck which look like it may have been helped in from a Duck stick as well. The power play goal was sixth goal on the season for Terres. That would be the only offensive highlight as the two goaltenders went to war. Robert Meadows was up for the challenge for the Ducks and would shut down the Energy on many good chances.
The third period just didn't seem to go the way of the home team. The Energy were given many power play chances, but could not convert. The Ducks special teams were not part of the game until Harris got a short handed break away and was able to beat Larson to give the Ducks the lead again. It's a lead the Ducks would not give away. Harris put it out of reach in the last minute of play with an empty net goal while the Ducks were on the power play. A hard fought game that had the Energy on the wrong end. These two teams will meet again when the Ducks come back to Maple Grove this Sunday at 7pm.
The Dells Ducks visited Maple Grove for the second time in three days and left town with two wins. Friday's contest was very competitive, but Sunday's tilt seemed to get away from the Energy. The Ducks sent goalie Zach Larson to the showers early en route to a 7-3 victory. With the win, the Ducks are now in sole possession of first place in the Minnesota division.
The first period seemed to be a carbon copy of Friday night's first period. It was evenly matched period, but a sneaky Joey Bower goal left the Ducks in front. Bower's goal caught larson off guard, as the quick turnaround shot found it's way to the back of the net. Maple Grove would still outshoot the Ducks in the period, 10-9.
The second period is when the wheels really came off for Maple Grove. Things were looking up to start the period when Cody Vanthournout tied the game at 2:57. That tie would not last long, as Ian Wood would answer just :43 later. The Ducks then tacked on two more goals, both coming on the power play, to put some distance between the two teams. A timeout and a change in net were the next moves for coach Don Babineau, hoping to turn the tide of the game. However, Brian Anderson wouldn't fare much better, giving up a power play goal just 1:35 after being put in. The goal barrage put the Ducks up 5-1 to end the second period.
Maple Grove wasn't ready to throw in the towel just yet, and scored right away to start the period. A penalty that had carried over from the second period had the Energy on the power play to start the third period and Kendall Bolen-Porter converted. The goal came at :15 of the third period, giving Maple Grove the start they needed. Austin Burt converted another power play for Maple Grove a little more than six minutes later to bring the Energy to within two goals of the Ducks. That would be as close as they would get. The Ducks would answer with two goals by Daniel Roe and Ian Wood to finish out the game. It was a disappointing outcome, but it's hard to be critical of a team playing the last game of a four game stretch.
Maple Grove will be back home this Friday and look to bounce back against the winless Steele County Blades.