Cardinals deal 5-3 loss to Flyers

FAIRMONT – The Fairmont Area boys hockey team netted three goals with the man advantage and the Cardinals fended off the Sioux Falls Flyers in a 5-3 nonconference game on Thursday at Martin County Arena in Fairmont.

“I thought that our special teams were great tonight. To get three power-play goals was really good and then our penalty kill didn’t allow any shots I don’t think,” said Fairmont Area head coach Brady Meyer.

Rodney Engstrom fired the first power-play goal into the net 2:31 into the nonconference game.

Arens held the puck along the boards, before zipping a pass to Engstrom on the point. Engstrom’s shot found its way through defenders and snapped the net for the score.

Sophomore center Reilly Hoefker fired a one-timer into the net 31 seconds later to stake the home team to a 2-0 lead.

Joe Nordquist protected the puck from the Flyers defenders behind the net, before snapping a pass out to Hoefker out in front of the net.

Greg Claeys finished off the offensive attack in the first period with the Cardinals second power-play goal.

Arens fired a pass to Engstrom driving down the wing from the blue line for a shot, the rebound bounced out to Claeys on the point.

The senior defender then blistered a shot that found the net with 1:07 left in the frame.

“We set goals for shots per period with the guys,” Meyer said about the Cardinals 16 shots on goal in the first. “We have been getting good scoring chances lately, but then not shooting the puck, so we wanted an attainable but high goal for them to shoot for.”

The Flyers then bounced back to outscore the Cardinals 2-1 in the middle frame, making it a two-goal game going into the third.

Cameron Nielson ended the Cardinals netminder, Colton Cunning’s shutout bid with 11:23 left in the second.

Nielson drove the net and wrapped a shot around an outstretched Cunning for the unassisted goal.

Hoefker made quick work of restoring the Cardinal lead, catching a Sam Havnen pass from behind the net and firing a wrister from the slot across the crease to make it 4-1.

Sioux Falls didn’t back down, and Travis Janecek cut the lead to two for the third time in the game.

Ethan Clark fired a shot behind the net for teammate Dallas Appeldorn, who lost the puck to Engstrom.

The Cardinal junior defender then fired a clearing pass, but Janecek stepped in for the steal and snapped a quick wrister for the tally with 2:02 left in the second.

The stellar Cardinal defense stepped up in the third period and held the Flyers to just three shots on goal, while the Cardinals found the net for their third goal on the power play.

“Colton is a great goalie for us, and usually stops a lot for us,” said Meyer. “But we’ve been trying to tell the guys to work on blocking shots and make his job a little easier back there. Tonight that definitely showed.”

Arens, who finished with three points in the game, netted a one-timer with just under seven minutes to play to put the Cardinals ahead 5-2.

Engstrom, who finished with three points in the game, carried the puck into the Flyers’ zone, and zipped a pass across to Arens, who was driving on the other wing.

Arens lined up the shot and fired the puck into the top shelf for the lamp lighter.

“I thought that both of those guys had big games for us tonight, both had three points and that was big,” said Meyer. “Reilly getting two goals tonight was fun, too.”

The Flyers managed a third goal with 1:19 left in the game.

Michael Buffington dropped off a pass for Koln Thie, who was driving down the wing, and Thie buried the shot for the score.

The Cardinals finished with 43 shots, while Cunning made nine saves for Fairmont Area.

The Flyers fired 12 shots on goal, while goalie Robert Berndt made 38 saves.

Fairmont Area (4-11, 0-3 SCC) travels for a 1 p.m. game against Redwood Valley on Saturday in Redwood Falls.

S. Falls 0-2-1-3

F. Area 3-1-1-5


1st Period

FA – Rodney Engstrom (Trason Arens), pp, 14:29.

FA – Reilly Hoefker (Joe Nordquist), 13:49.

FA – Greg Claeys (Rodney Engstrom, Trason Arens), pp, 1:07.

2nd Period

SF – Cameron Nielson (unassisted), 11:23.

FA – Reilly Hoefker (Sam Havnen), 5:43.

SF – Travis Janecek (Dallas Appeldorn, Ethan Clark), 2:02.

3rd Period

FA – Trason Arens (Rodney Engstrom), pp, 6:58.

SF – Koln Thie (Michael Buffington), 1:19.

Shots on goal: Fairmont Area 16-9-18-43; Sioux Falls 4-5-3-12.

Saves: Robert Berndt (SF) 13-8-17-38; Colton Cunning (FA) 4-3-2-9.

Penalties: Sioux Falls 6 for 17 minutes; Fairmont Area 4 for 8 minutes.