Coming in motivated after a loss to No. 12 Dodge County, the Faribault boys’ hockey team had one of its most complete team outputs of the season. Amid several lineup changes, the Falcons downed Albert Lea 5-1 Saturday night at Faribault Ice Arena.
The Falcons disrupted the Tigers in the neutral zone, blocked a ton of shots, and saw Maclain Weasler nearly post a shutout. A tipped shot on the power play was the only one to beat Weasler.
Coming in, Faribault had a handful of goals it wanted to attain. By game’s end, the only one they didn’t accomplish was 30 shots on net.
“We were terrible against Dodge County,” Faribault coach Dean Weasler said. “We didn't do the little things in that game to make us successful. I thought we didn't in the third period. So we took a portion of our next practice to compete for 17 minutes because I didn't feel like we did it in the game. The guys responded and came out today flying.”
In the first period, the Falcons clogged up shooting lanes, blocking shot after shot. They continued to do so in the second period and on the penalty kill where the Tigers had few shots make it cleanly on net. In the third, Joseph Yoon’s shot from the top on the zone deflected on net and whizzed past Weasler, who showed again why he’s a top goalie in the Big 9 Conference.
The Falcons faced a strong push by the Tigers to get back in the game in the opening minutes of the third, but there, too, they held their ice defensively.
On a shot from the left circle, Weasler made the stop but the puck came to rest just behind his right skate on the red line just waiting to be poked in. Junior defenseman Grady Goodwin swooped in from the far side and cleared the puck. He and his defensive partner, sophomore Tanner Yochum, logged the bulk of the minutes.
Yochum was inserted into the top defensive pairing with Goodwin as part of the lineup shuffle and was rewarded with “more ice time than he’s had all year.”
Lucas Linnemann moved from defense to right wing on a line with his brother Oliver Linnemann and Keaton Ginter. While Lucas didn’t register a point, he had several shots on net and helped the second line get its scoring chances. A great introductory game at forward at the varsity level.
“We definitely change the way we played today for the better,” Weasler said. “That might have been Lucas Linnemann's first game at forward since squirts. I thought he played great.”
Zach Siegert got the scoring started for the Falcons with a goal 18 seconds into the first. Siegert grabbed a loose puck on a whiffed shot at the blue line by an Albert Lea defenseman, turned on the jets and buried the breakaway goal. Siegert scored again in the first minute of the second to give the Falcons a 3-0 lead.
From Siegert’s first goal till the end of the game, the Falcons forechecked aggressively with two forwards up. Putting pressure on Albert Lea's defense to make plays paid off.
The Falcons had two goals on its first five shots of the game. Keaton Ginter capitalized on a rebound, scoring at 2:43 of the second to give the Falcons a 4-0 lead and the game well out of reach for the Tigers.
Faribault looks to build off the win against No. 14 Mankato West on the road Tuesday.