The Dragons hockey team hopped on a bus and drove 113 miles northwest to Breezy Point Ice Arena to battle Section 5A rival Northern Lakes. The Dragons were just coming out of a bit of a rough patch in the season and needed a big win to get back on track. The Lightning were in the middle of a six game winning streak and had beaten other section opponents like Chisago Lakes, Princeton, and North Branch. Pine City knew this was not going to be an easy contest but they put together a full game and played very well top to bottom to earn a 7-1 win.
Pine City took less than two minutes to get on the board. Dusty Bergstrom opened up the scoring for the Dragons. Things rolled from there as Howie Hodena scored shortly after Bergstrom. The Dragons scored twice more at the end of the period. Jimmy Lindblom and George Miller were the skaters who helped give Pine City a 4-0 lead at the end of the 1st period. Head Coach Grant Nicoll said, "We set the tone early. Laven made some great saves early in the first to keep it scoreless, we killed some penalties, and our offensive power that has been quiet lately took over."
The 2nd period started out quiet,neither team could break free for a goal. A couple Dragon penalties saw the Lightning controlling play in the Dragon zone. Pine City's defense shut down the Lightning's top line and Alex Laven made some really great saves to keep the game scoreless. Eventually, George Miller took and a great pass from Seth Linnell and found the back of the net for his 2nd goal of the game. Quickly after Miller scored Justin Gamec would extend the Dragons lead 6-0. Nicoll added, "Again in the second, Laven was tested, our killers did their job, and we put pucks in the back of the net. This was a great game for the boys to show that their hard work was paying off!"
Pine City headed to the locker room with the game in hand and running clock to start the third. Each team added a goal with Jimmy Lindblom grabbing his second of the game and Hunter Nybakken grabbed one late for the Lightning. Pine City rolled to a 7-1 win. This was the most complete game the Dragons had played in a while with all three lines contributing, the defense shutting down a team that averages around five goals per game, and Alex Laven making 34 saves in a very solid effort between the pipes.
Nicoll finished the recap by saying, "Now we need to continue moving upward and go into playoffs on a positive note. As Coach Miller wrote on the board in the locker room..... WE ARE BACK."
With the win the Dragons move to 15-5 on the season and grab a crucial Section win that should help Pine City earn the #3 seed when the regular season is over. Pine City hosts Becker/Big Lake on Saturday.
Dragons 4 2 1 7
Lightning 0 0 1 0
Dusty Bergstrom - 1g, 1a
Howie Hodena - 1g
Jimmy Lindblom - 2g
George Miller - 2g, 1a
Justin Gamec - 1g
Ryder Youngbauer - 1a
Peyton Smetana - 2a
Parker Sell - 3a
Seth Linnell - 1a
Tim Thole - 1a
Alex Laven - 34 saves on 35 shots
Nybakken 1G 0A