Boys Hockey: Bengals Fend off Crimson Comeback

Notermann Comes Up Big


Jon Ababiy, Writer


Senior Luke Notermann was in the spotlight in the Blaine Bengals game against the Maple Grove Crimson. Just three days before, he announced his commitment to play college hockey at the University of Minnesota. The future Gopher scored the clinching goal to lead the Bengals to a 6-3 victory.

The Maple Grove Crimson have a relatively younger roster than the Bengals and have compiled a 8-11 record this season. They’ve faced some tough competition this season: Benilde, Holy Family, Stillwater.

Blaine goalie Jon Kallestad was back after being injured in a car accident. He was gone for a significant amount of games, but on the ice he came up clutch with numerous glove saves.

The Bengals started the first period playing quick and skilled. Just two minutes in, senior Patrick Buck scored backdoor. Buck has had a scoring resurgence after a quiet start this season.

Blaine put up 9 shots in the first four minutes of the period. The momentum ended when senior Riley Tufte went to the box for crosschecking. Notermann poked the puck free and had a shorthanded breakaway opportunity, but a Crimson defender got a penalty earning trip on him at the last second.

The rest of the period would end up being uneventful. The Bengals and Crimson traded chances, including a shot that bounced off the Bengal post. Shots at the end of the second were 11-10 Blaine.

The Bengals continued the early scoring tradition when senior Grant Boege played the puck between the legs of the MG goalie a minute and a half into the second period. The Bengals hustled early in the second period.

Things started to get physical between MG player Jack Kelly and Tufte. They had a few minor scuffles in the beginning of the period, but about halfway through the period, both were sent to the penalty box, Kelly joining a MG player already in the box. The Crimson scored, just after the penalties expired, to cut the lead to 2-1.

Blaine started playing slopping, missing easy shots in front and mishandling the puck in the their zone. Tufte had a few chances of his own, but could not capitalize. The game started to turn into a slog for Blaine, then with two minutes left, senior Tanner Vescio scored his first goal of the season on a slapshot.

Shots were 23-16 Blaine at the end of the second period.

Tufte extended the lead to 4-1 just two minutes into the period. He skated up from his own blue line, past the defenders, and buried it five hole.

Blaine junior Max Bautch went to the box for tripping about two minutes later. The Crimson acted on their opportunity and cut the lead to two. The Bengals sloppiness started to catch up with them, and the Crimson added another goal, four minutes later.

Then, at the 6:25 mark, the Crimson got a powerplay again, but Kallestad came up big, blocking many MG chances. The Bengals had a hard time keeping control of the puck, which coupled with MG’s urgent play, made it seem like the Bengals were going to blow the lead.

Notermann had been quieter than his usual self all game, and he made up for it when he buried a pass from Boege into net, killing all hopes of a Crimson comeback. Notermann scored with two minutes left to play, and Tufte added to the total by scoring an emptynetter on the defense man was trying to chirp him all game, giving the game its final score: 6-3.

It looked as if the Crimson would come back, but luckily the Bengals scored when they needed to and got the win. The Bengals need to get more consistent second line scoring. Tufte and Notermann can’t do all the work. If the Bengals want to be State champs, they need to be able to be offensively potent on all their lines.

When the Bengals were rolling, they were really rolling against the Crimson. The Bengals need to make sure they can play all three periods and not drop off in third, only to come back with a last second goal. Consistency is key.

In their next game, the Blaine Bengals play the Andover Huskies at home Saturday night. The Bengals dominated Andover last time out, so this game should be a chance for Bengals to spark their confidence again.