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The Organization News - Junior Hockey News

Published: Monday, 8 Mar 2021  
By: JuniorHockey.com Staff, JuniorHockey.com


Sensational Week Within Blizzard Organization 
It was a monumental week within the Blizzard organization. The NAHL’s St. Cloud Norsemen swept the Minot Minotauros with two overtime victories propelling St. Cloud out of the Central Division cellar. The Norsemen are 5-4-0-1 in their last 10 games, and sit 3 points out of the final playoff spot. The NA3HL’s Willmar Warhawks went 3-1 during their grueling stretch of 4 games in 4 nights, taking 2 of 3 from the 1st place North Iowa Bulls. With their victory against the Bulls on Sunday night, the Warhawks clinched a playoff spot in the West Division for the 2nd time in franchise history. NA3HL’s Alexandria split their week of play with wins at home against New Ulm and a road loss at Granite City. The Blizzard are just 4 points away from securing their 9th consecutive playoff berth.

HELGESON’S SECOND OT WINNER LIFTS NORSEMEN TO SWEEP 
 St. Cloud, MN – Ben Helegeson’s second consecutive overtime winner completed the St. Cloud Norsemen’s weekend sweep of the Minot Minotauros in a 3-2 victory.  
 
Inside of the first three minutes of the game, Blake Mesenburg scored for the second night in a row to give St. Cloud the early lead. Later in the period, Mesenburg scored, again, to give the Norsemen the 2-0 lead.  
 
In the second, Minot got on the board with a Jay Buchholz goal, bringing the Minotauros within a goal.  
 
In the third, Ethan Schmunk scored a shorthanded goal to tie the game and eventually force the matchup into overtime for the second consecutive night.  
 
With an overtime powerplay opportunity, St. Cloud worked the puck below the goal line as Ryan O’Neill fed the puck to Captain Ben Helgeson who, for the second time in as many games, scored the overtime winner.  
 
Goaltender Josh Langford earned his third victory of the season and stopped 32 of 34 Minotauros shots.  
 
With the win, the Norsemen improve to 11-18-1 and will take on the Minnesota Wilderness on Tuesday, March 9th at 7:00PM in St. Cloud. Mark Shelley will provide the Play-By-Play on the Lyon Sheet Metal & Heating Norsemen Network beginning at 6:55PM on HockeyTV. 
 
For tickets and information on news and upcoming events go to st.cloudnorsemen.com and follow the Norsemen on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram.  

Willmar Wins 3 of 4 to Clinch Playoffs 
Willmar opened a 4 game in 4 night stretch on the road against the 1st place North Iowa Bulls on Thursday night. This may have been the spark they were looking for after coming home with a big 4-2 win. Dylan Gajewski scored 10 seconds into the game to jump start the team. Isaiah Thomas and Gavin Uckele assisted on Gajewski’s 7th of the year. Gajewski scored again later in the first for a 2-0 lead off assists from Isaiah Thomas and Lewis Rowan. Willmar kept the momentum up in the 2nd period with another Gajewski goal, for the pure hat trick, and one from Lewis Rowan. Isaiah Thomas picked up his 3rd assist of the game on Rowan’s 10th of the year. North Iowa scored two late 2nd period goals but that’s as close as they got as Lukas Haugen turned aside 30 of 32 shots for the victory.

On Friday night Willmar welcomed New Ulm to town, and kept rolling with a 6-1 victory. They jumped out to a 2-0 lead after the first twenty minutes. Lewin Rowan, and Isaiah Thomas scored a minute apart halfway through the 1st period. Jack Willis and Gavin Uckele assisted on Rowan’s 11 of the season. Rowan and Ben Johnson assisted on Thomas’s 5th of the year. Willis and Ethan Light scored four minutes apart in the 2nd period for a 4-0 Warhawk lead. Brady O’Brien added two more in the 3rd period and the Warhawks cruised to the 6-1 victory outshooting New Ulm 58-17. Willmar got multi point games from O’Brien, Rowan, Willis Ben Johnson, Cole Wigestrand, Gavin Uckele and Ethan Light. Will Pinney stopped 16 of 17 for the victory in net.

On Saturday it was North Iowa visiting the Civic Center for the first of two, and broke open a tie game with a goal midway through the 3rd period then added an empty netter for a 3-1 victory. Elbridge DeKraai scored the lone Willmar goal on Saturday with Jeremiah Konkel and Kaleb Miller picking up the assists. Lukas Haugen made 41 saves but suffered the loss in net. 

Sunday night the Warhawks looked for redemption against North Iowa and got it with a wild 7-5 victory and in doing so clinched a playoff spot in the West division. Jack Willis opened the scoring a minute and a half into the game with Ben Luedtke and Ethan Light on the assists. Willmar then scored twice in a minute’s span for a 3-1 lead midway through the first. Dylan Gajewski scored his 10th of the year with assists from Lewis Rowan and Isaiah Thomas, then Rowan notched his 12 of the season with assists from Hunter Bjorge and Thomas. Willmar took a 4-2 lead three and a half minutes into the 2nd period when Austin Jozwick scored a power play goal. Ben Johnson and Brady O’Brien assisted on Jozwick’s 5th of the season. North Iowa battled back to tie the game at 4-4 but then Jack Willis put the Warhawks back on top at 5-4 right before the end of the 2nd period. Ben Luedtke assisted on Willis’s 9th of the season. North Iowa came back again to tie the game at 5-5 early in the 3rd but then Hunter Bjorge scored his 1st of the year on the power play at the 12:36 mark for a 6-5 lead. Willis and Thomas picked up the assist. Bjorge came through again burying his 2nd goal into the empty net to seal the victory for the Warhawks. Cooper Olson stopped 16 of 17 for the victory in net after relieving Will Pinney. 

Willmar (17-16 – 34 pts) are in 3rd place in the West 5 points behind Granite City (19-8-0-1 – 39 pts) for the final home playoff spot. That’s where they’ll travel to on Saturday night for a 7:30 puck drop against the Lumberjacks. They’ll stay on the road next Sunday to take on the New Ulm Steel (5-22-3 – 13pts) at 6:10 pm. You can catch all the action on hockeytv.com


Blizzard 4 Game Win Streak Snapped on Road
The Blizzard have run their win streak to 4 games and are 7-0 against New Ulm this year after a 6-3 victory on Wednesday night.

Fast starts have been the theme during the win streak and Wednesday night was no different. Caleb Strong played his part scoring his team leading 17th goal just over a minute into the game. Colin Tushie made it 2-0 scoring off a nice two on one feed from Carter Rieland and then Cole Jacobs gave the Blizzard a 3-0 lead before the 5 minute mark of the 1st period. New Ulm didn’t back down though scoring twice to pull within a goal, but Dallas Duckson scored his 11th of the season on the power play tipping in a shot from Austin McNeil late in the first for a 4-2 Blizzard lead after one. Colin Tushie scored his 2nd goal of the game and 10th of the season for the lone 2nd period goal for 5-2 lead headed into the 3rd. New Ulm scored to pull within a couple goals, but couldn’t get any closer as Alex Heidenreich scored his 2nd of the year into the empty net to seal the victory. Bailey Rosch made 27 saves in net and improved to 5-0 against New Ulm this year. Carter Rieland picked up 3 assists, and Duckson had a 3 point night as well. 

Alexandria hit the road on Friday to take on Granite City, but their win streak was snapped in a 3-2 loss. After a scoreless 1st period, Carter Rieland put the Blizzard on the board just over a minute into the 2nd period with his 6th of the year. Dallas Duckson and Sean Kenny picked up the assists. Then with the game tied 1-1, just over the halfway point of the second, Alex Heidenreich scored his 3rd of the year and second in as many games to give the Blizzard a 2-1 lead. Caleb Strong and Nikolai Rajala picked up the assists. The Lumberjacks came back to tie the game later in the 2nd period and then scored the lone 3rd period goal for the 3-2 victory. Atticus Kelly stopped 29 of 32 but suffered the loss in net.

The Blizzard (14-16-1 – 29pts) are in 4th place in the West. They have 3 more games against Granite City this week. They’ll be at Granite City on Friday night at 7:30 pm, and home games are Wednesday and Sunday night March 10th and 14th at 7:10 pm. Tickets are available online at tickets.alexandriablizzard.com. Games are always available online as well at hockeytv.com

Content written by Mark Thompson and Mark Shelley

Author: JuniorHockey.com Staff from JuniorHockey.com


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