Eagles ground Cardinals
FAIRMONT – Windom Area’s starting frontline of center Travis Janssen and forwards Zach Bartosh and Devin Nielsen has generated an incredible 113 points through this season’s first 20 games.
The skilled stick-handling trio continued its high-octane offensive ways on Thursday night, combining to add a dozen more points to the Eagles’ scoring charts.
Janssen erupted for a hat trick and a game-best four assists, while Bartosh chipped in two goals and one helper to help engineer Windom Area’s 9-0 nonconference triumph over the Fairmont Area Cardinals at Martin County Arena in Fairmont.
“I’ve been looking at possibly playing in the North American Hockey League (juniors hockey), but if any college is interested in me playing hockey for them, I’m willing to listen to what they have to say,” said Janssen, who entered Thursday’s game with a team-leading 52 points including an Eagles’ best 32 goals.
Janssen displayed his passing prowess less than 5 1/2 minutes into the opening period, earning an assist on Bartosh’s goal off a doorstep chip-in. The Windom Area senior playmaker smacked the original shot off of Fairmont Area netminder Colton Cunning’s pads before Bartosh caught all net on the putback at the 11:38 juncture.
Janssen and Bartosh then worked the puck up the ice on a 2-on-1 rush before Bartosh spotted Nielsen in the crease. Nielsen made a 45-degree spin and backhanded home the goal inside the right pipe for a 2-0 lead at the 9-minute mark.
Senior forward Kyle Luhmann then hammered home a left-to-right one-timer that caught the cords in the top shelf to extend the Eagles’ edge to 3-0 with 7:49 left in the first frame. Stuart Schumacher and Mitchell Macek netted a double-assist on the play.
Despite back-to-back steals and shots-on-goal by Brock Johnson and Kalon Wilson during the opening segment, Fairmont Area could not break through Windom Area goaltender Ben Stubbe’s wall of defense.
Stubbe also denied Grant Becker after the Cardinal senior forward weaved through traffic before firing a low liner that Stubbe gloved for one of his 16 saves midway through the opening segment.
Janssen and Nielsen triggered the Eagles’ four-goal middle frame by bombarding Cunning with three blistering blasts before Bartosh wristed home the final carom for a 4-0 lead at the 13:54 mark.
Janssen then displayed his goal-scoring skills by delivering back-to-back unassisted goals, including the first one when Windom Area was shorthanded.
The senior center intercepted a crossing pass at his own blue line, rushed the middle of the ice and made an abrupt crossover stop-and-pop maneuver to find the Cardinals’ net during a man-down situation.
Janssen then pocketed another steal in neutral ice, rushed the net head-on and made a nice juke move to flip his second goal across the line for a 6-0 lead with 6:21 left in the second.
Zach Ignaszewski cashed in Tyler Presthus’ pass for a right-side wrister at the 2:30 mark for a 7-0 lead after two periods in the books.
Janssen managed to assist Luhmann’s hard slapshot from the left point only 22 seconds into the third period before Janssen completed his hat trick with a putback goal with 2 minutes to go. Schumacher was credited with an assist on the Eagles’ ninth and final goal.
Cunning made 32 saves on the night for the Cardinals.
Fairmont Area (2-16-1) plays Mankato East/Loyola on Tuesday night at All Seasons Arena in Mankato in another nonconference contest.
Windom Area (12-9) travels to Redwood Falls on Tuesday night to face Redwood Valley in a Southwest Conference game.
W – Zach Bartosh (Travis Janssen), 11:38.
W – Devin Nielsen (Zach Bartosh, Travis Janssen), 9:00.
W – Kyle Luhmann (Stuart Schumacher, Mitchell Macek), 7:49.
W – Zach Bartosh (Devin Nielsen, Travis Janssen), 13:54.
W – Travis Janssen (unassisted), sh., 10:44.
W – Travis Janssen (unassisted), 6:21.
W – Zach Ignaszewski (Tyler Presthus), 2:30.
W – Kyle Luhmann (Travis Janssen), 16:38.
W – Travis Janssen (Stuart Schumacher), 2:00.
Shots on goal: Windom Area 15-17-9-41; Fairmont Area 5-7-4-16.
Saves: Colton Cunning (FA) 12-13-7-32; Ben Stubbe (WA) 5-7-4-16.
Penalties: Fairmont Area 3 for 6 minutes; Windom Area 3 for 6 minutes.
Power-play chances: Fairmont Area 0-2; Windom 0-2.