By: Nick Clark ' MnJHL Director of Media Relations
Over the course of what is a 45-game regular season, signature moments can come and go on an almost weekly basis in the Minnesota Junior Hockey League.
Others stick for a little longer.
For the Minnesota Flying Aces, last weekend might have provided one of those moments that lingers.
The Aces spotted Edina a 3-0 first period lead. The deficit would be trimmed to just a goal heading into the third, but the Lakers would pump in a fourth goal just over five minutes in to make it 4-2.
But before the period would be 14 minutes old, Minnesota responded with a three-goal surge to take the lead, before adding to it in the final three minutes in what ended up being a 6-4 Flying Aces victory.
The win, like any other, was good for two critical points in the MnJHL league standings. Everywhere else though, it was worth so much more.
śNo kidding,ť said Minnesota head coach Craig Larson. śA lot of teams would have folded up, but there is a lot of character inside that locker room, and the guys stepped up. That can go a long way as we move forward.ť
The first of what was essentially two comebacks started in the second period. Down by three, Mitch Borneman (Wausau, Wis.) got the Aces stared with a goal just 47 seconds in, before Derek Molski (Stevens Point, Wis.) netted a power play goal with 6:58 left to make it 3-2.
It would be 4-2 by the time the third period passed the midway point, but in a 25-second span, the Aces would tie it.
Cole Reisenauer (Dickenson, N.D.) made it a one-goal game at 11:18 of the third, then Parker Tomczyk (Mosinee, Wis.) drew Minnesota even at 11:43 with a laser into the upper left hand corner.
A little under two minutes later, Brett Jenkins (Brainerd, Minn.) put the Aces up for good, and Zach Wilkinson (Chanhassen, Minn.) iced it with 3:31 to play.
śWe just stayed positive on the bench and battled through [the deficit],ť said Tomczyk. śWe were a little sloppy in the first period, but we picked it up as the game went on and got some key goals from some key players on our team, and it ended up a win.ť
Tomczyk himself would certainly qualify in both of those key-goals, key players aspects. His game-tying goal was his team-best eighth of the year, and through a dozen games, hes already piled up 19 points.
śHe plays in every situation, and hes scored some big, game-changing goals,ť Larson said. śHes a player that a lot of colleges are going to like down the line because he is pretty tenacious, and he has the ability to score goals.ť
A transplant for the Central States Hockey League, Tomczyk had 30 points for the Dubuque Thunderbirds a year ago. His transition to the MnJHL this season has been seamless ' something Larson said has a lot to do with the experience he carried over from his days in Dubuque.
śHes a seasoned player, so hes been around and knows what the junior game is like,ť Larson said. śHes been outstanding for us. The big thing with Parker is he has so much speed, and he is able to create a lot of things with his speed and his tenacity.ť
About the only thing Tomczyk has yet to solidify is his teams ability to play like they did Nov. 7 on a consistent basis.
Its been a win-one, lose-one start for the 7-5-0-1 Aces. That included last weekend, when Minnesota dropped a Nov. 5 decision to Granite City 6-2 before storming back to win in Edina three nights later.
What the victory provides will be determined in the coming weeks, but if anything, the Aces found out again what doesnt work.
śWe just have to start putting a winning streak together, and stop giving periods away, Tomczyk said. śWe gave away that first period. If we can eliminate that, weve shown we can be a real good team.ť
Elsewhere in the MnJHL '
Edina Lakers: Edina dropped two last weekend, losing at Rochester Saturday and then at home to the Flying Aces Sunday. Alex Chuhel (Cottage Grove, Minn.) and Tyler Robison (Omaha, Neb.) both had two-point nights in the loss to the Ice Hawks. Luke Vogelgesang (Cottage Grove, Minn.) scored his MnJHL leading 12th and 13th goals of the year against the Aces.
Granite City Lumberjacks: Granite City has now won nine of 10 after taking two more games last weekend. Mike Wolter (Antigo, Wis.) scored twice, and Connor Tamai (Fairbanks, Alaska) and Trevor Ness (Motley, Minn.) each had a pair of assists in a 6-2 win at the Flying Aces Thursday. Saturday, Bobby Chayka (Hardwick, N.J.) recorded a hat trick, and both Ness and Tyler Cayemberg (Eagle, Wis.) had a goal and two assists in a 7-4 win at the Minnesota Wildcats.
Hudson Crusaders: Dylan Docks (River Falls, Wis.) power play goal 35 seconds into overtime lifted Hudson to a 5-4 win over the Twin Cities Northern Lights Saturday. Nick Townes (Crown Point, Wis.) assisted on Docks game-winner, one of four points he recorded in the win, and Ivan Pavlenko (Moscow, Russia) added a goal and two assists for the Crusaders.
Minnesota Owls: The Owls were off last weekend. Minnesota returns to action this week by playing host to Rochester Friday and then at Granite City Saturday.
Minnesota Wildcats: The Wildcats lost two last weekend, but they scored eight goals in doing so. Patrick Martin (Mora, Minn.) assisted on two of them in a 7-4 loss to Granite City Saturday. Gavin Runberg (North Branch, Minn.) had two goals and Ville Mattila (Kuortane, Finland) two assists in a 10-4 loss at Twin Cities Sunday.
Rochester Ice Hawks: The Ice Hawks won their MnJHL best 12th game of the season with a 6-2 home win over Edina Saturday. Six different players scored, and Nick LaRue (LaCrosse, Wis.), Michael Ohlsson (Sundsvall, Sweden) and Shaun Walters (Plymouth, Mich.) each finished with two points in the win.
Twin Cities Northern Lights: Twin Cities rebounded from an overtime loss in Hudson Saturday to drop a 10-spot on the Wildcats in a 10-4 victory Sunday. Tyler Schwartz (Chanhassen, Minn.) had two of the goals, and Mike Falvey (St. Paul, Minn.) and Alex OLeary (Kansas City, Mo.) each finished with a four-point night in the game.
Games scheduled for this weekend '
Friday, Nov. 12
Edina Lakers at Hudson Crusaders, 7:10 p.m.
Rochester Ice Hawks at Minnesota Owls, 7:30 p.m.
Twin Cities Northern Lights at Minnesota Wildcats, 7:35 p.m.
Saturday, Nov. 13
Hudson Crusaders at Edina Lakers, 7:05 p.m.
Minnesota Flying Aces at Rochester Ice Hawks, 7:30 p.m.
Minnesota Owls at Granite City Lumberjacks, 7:30 p.m.
Sunday, Nov. 14
Granite City Lumberjacks at Twin Cities Northern Lights, 5:45 p.m.
Minnesota Flying Aces at Minnesota Wildcats, 7:05 p.m.