After nine days off the Pine City Area Dragons traveled south on 35E to the "Snoopy Rink" on Tuesday night for a Two Rivers Conference matchup against St. Paul Highland Park. This is typically a close battle and usually the winner of this game goes on to win the Two Rivers Conference. The Dragons came out the gate a little slow but found their stride late to grab a 7-1 victory and pull way out in front of the Two Rivers Conference.
The fear for Pine City in this game was that after almost 10 days off the high of winning the Herb Brooks Invitational, the Dragons would struggle to find their motivation against the Scots. Those fears came true as the Dragons headed into the locker at the end of the first period tied 1-1. The team was not clicking in the first and the lone bright spot was Justin Gamec recording his first goal of the season on a great shot from the blue line.
As Grant Nicoll noted after the game, a lot of teams take a game or two to get back into their stride after a long break. For Pine City it only took about one period as the Dragons came out firing in the second period. About ten minutes into the period George Miller caught a brilliant pass from Dusty Bergstrom right on his tape and skated around the defender to score one of the better goals we have seen this season and give the Dragons a 2-1 lead. That's when things opened up for Pine City just a few minutes later Peyton Smetana redirected a pass perfectly into the back of the net to extend the lead to 3-1.
The highlight of the game came at the end of the second period when George Miller scored his second goal of the game and flew into his team's bench celebrating his 100th career point as a Dragon. Going into the game, we weren't sure if George was going to reach that milestone that night being four points away. But he was ready for that breakout game and it only took two periods for him to hit his milestone. This is a massive accomplishment that can only be found after years of hard work. The Dragons headed into the second intermission up 4-1.
Pine City was able to play with confidence in the third period and took care of business. George Miller added a third goal to complete the hat trick and Gabe Westbrook scored two of his own to finish off a 7-1 win for the Dragons. Dusty Bergstrom assisted on five of the seven goals for Pine City. Alex Laven played another solid game in net to record his 11th win of the year.
PC 1 3 3 = 7
HP 1 0 0 = 1
George Miller - 3g, 3a
Gabe Westbrook - 2g, 1a
Justin Gamec - 1g
Peyton Smetana - 1g
Dusty Bergstrom - 5a
Parker Sell - 2a
Alex Laven - 13 saves on 14 shots
Pine City is now 12-2 on the season and own an 11 game winning streak. The Dragons will have another five days off before hosting Moose Lake on Monday.