Cougars scratch Cardinals
FAIRMONT – The first time the Fairmont Area Cardinals boy hockey team faced the Mankato East/Loyola Cougars this season in the River Lakes Tournament on Dec. 28, there were six goals scored as the teams skated to a 3-3 tie.
In the rematch of the holiday game, there were still six goals scored, but the Cougars netted all of them to take a 6-0 nonconference victory over the Cardinals on Tuesday night at Martin County Arena in Fairmont.
“They didn’t do anything tonight that surprised us. They had more players tonight than last time, but they didn’t surprise us with how they played. The only thing that surprised us was the outcome,” said Fairmont Area head coach Brady Meyer.
Carter Johnson, the Cougars’ starting center and leading point scorer, tallied two goals and made one assist to pace the offensive effort.
Carter Johnson’s first goal of the night came off a Shane Sellner pass through a Cougar screen and past Cardinal goalie Colton Cunning with 5:24 left in the opening period.
Cunning stopped all but one of the Cougars’ 14 first-period shots, including a point-blank slap shot from Brent Adams that teetered on the goal line before Cunning muffled it for the save. That save, along with 22 in the second period and 12 more in the third gave Cunning 42 saves in the game.
“Colton did a good job in net for us. A lot of their chances were right in front of the net, but he made good saves and kept us in it,” said Meyer.
Rodney Engstrom sent a long pass from the just inside the blue line to a driving Matt Lytle for a shot in the final minute of the opening frame to give Fairmont Area one of its best chances to score.
Carter Johnson made quick work of his second goal in the game, firing a shot off Cunning’s leg pad before sending home the rebound just 24 seconds into the second period to make it 2-0.
Lytle tipped a Greg Claeys blast from the point during 4-on-4 situation to give the Cardinals a scoring opportunity with 11:30 remaining in the second, but Cougar goaltender Jeremia Merela stuck his shoulder out for one of his 19 saves to keep Fairmont Area off the board.
Brent Adams then made it a three-goal game when he ripped a wrister from the slot for one of the two Cougar power-play goals with just over 11 minutes to play in the middle frame.
Teal Leskey sent home a tic-tac-toe one-timer at 9:22 in the second period to make it 4-0 in the visitors’ favor.
Freshman Judd Schulz collected a Cougar rebound behind the net and slid a quick pass to Brad Johnson, who sent a centering pass to Leskey for the top-shelf tally.
Brad Johnson then netted his own goal during the second Cougar power play with 2:40 left in the second period to take a 5-0 lead.
Schulz netted the final goal of the game just 1:53 into the third period, sending a tipped Chris Liu shot from the point rolling over Cunning’s shoulder and falling just inside the crease to make it 6-0.
Fairmont Area (1-12-1, 1-2 South Central) travels to Le Sueur for a 7 p.m. conference game against St. Peter/LeSueur-Henderson on Thursday night.
Mankato East/Loyola (5-10-2) travels to Waseca for a 7 p.m. nonconference game on Tuesday night.
Fairmont Area 0-0-0-0
ME – Carter Johnson (Shane Sellner), 11:36.
ME/L – Carter Johnson (Shane Sellner, Brent Adams), 0:24.
ME/L – Brent Adams (Shane Sellner, Carter Johnson), pp., 5:53.
ME/L – Teal Leskey (Brad Johnson, Judd Schulz), 9:22.
ME/L – Brad Johnson (Alek Schulz), pp., 14:20.
ME/L – Judd Schulz (Chris Liu), 1:53.
Saves: Colton Cunning (FA) 13-18-11-42; Jeremia Merela (ME/L) 9-5-5-19.
Shots on goal: Mankato East/Loyola 48; Fairmont Area 19.
Penalties: Fairmont Area 4 for 8 minutes; East/Loyola 3 for 6 minutes.
Power-play chances: Mankato East/Loyola 2-for-4; Fairmont Area 0-for-3.