The Pine City Dragons were out looking for revenge once again when the Sauk Rapids-Rice Storm came into town on Thursday night. The Storm had beaten Pine City 5-2 last year in a game that many of the Dragon coaching staff believe cost them a home playoff game.
Pine City started about as strong as you can as Parker Sell scored an unassisted goal just 25 seconds into the game. Things really slowed down from there as Pine City wasn't able to connect on their passes and didn't have any big chances late in the first wrapping up the first period holding on to a 1-0 lead.
The second period started almost identical to the first as Parker Sell scored again just 35 seconds into the second period. George Miller added one about four minutes later to make Pine City's lead a more comfortable one but they knew that they still had their work cut out for them leading 3-0 going into the third period.
The third period saw Sauk Rapids-Rice come out strong as they were close to getting themselves back into the game several times early in the period, but Alex Laven made a few really nice saves and his defensive core in front of him made some plays to keep the Storm out of the net. With 7:10 to go in the third period, George Miller scored one of the better goals you will ever see in a high school hockey game (start at 2:19:00 of this video if you want to see for yourself). The 4-0 lead allowed the Dragons to loosen up and finish up the victory strong. They added two more goals late in the third including Parker Sell finishing up his hat trick and Jimmy Lindblom adding another to give the Dragons a 6-0 win.
Coach Grant Nicoll said, "The boys are playing good hockey and its a lot of fun." He added, "We're finishing games... we continue to put the pressure on and finish games and that is something that we struggled with the past few years."
Alex Laven finished off a shutout and earned WCMP's Nicoll's Cafe Player of the Game honors. Laven had been very close to a shutout several times this season, but this game the Dragons did not allow that late goal to spoil it. Laven has been very solid in between the pipes so far this season and last night he earned a much-deserved shut out. Parker Sell could've been easily given the award as well. He played his best game of the season so far recording a hat trick and adding two assists. His five points increased his total to a team leading 19 points which is good for fourth in the state.
Pine City 1 2 3 = 6
Sauk Rapids 0 0 0 = 0
Scoring P. Sell - Hat Trick, 2a
G. Miller - 2g, 2a
J. Lindblom - 1g
P. Smetana - 1a
G. Westbrook - 2a
L. Fabini -2a
D. Bergstrom - 1a
S. Linnell - 1a
A. Laven - 23 sv - 23 sh
The Dragons advance to 6-2 on the season. They have wrap up a long week with a home game against Simley on Saturday at 1:00
Photo Credit Lance Furber