BROOKINGS – It took the top-seeded Rangers awhile to get started in Sunday’s championship game of the SDAHA Varsity Boys’ State Tournament at Larson Ice Center.
After a scoreless first period, Brookings lit the lamp twice in the second, and then, tacked on two more goals in the third for a 4-1 win over second-seeded Rushmore – capping off an undefeated SDAHA season with its second straight state championship.
“That first period – we started off slow – I think the nerves got to the guys; they were pressing a little bit that first period,” said Ranger first-year head coach JaColby Anderson. “Sometimes, when guys get into a championship game situation against a high-caliber team like Rushmore, the nerves can take over and they’re afraid of making mistakes; they’re not as aggressive.
“After that first period, we told the guys, ‘Play your game; keep it simple; work hard; just trust your teammates and do your job – everything else will take care of itself.’ And that second period, our forecheck was much better; we were much more aggressive; and that’s the reason that we scored those two goals.”
The Thunder outshot Brookings, 17-15, through two periods – 5-4 and 12-11 – but the Rangers capitalized when Matt Chapin’s goal broke the scoreless tie with 5:14 to play in the second as Cody Niklason and Brandin Heesch earned the assists.
Late in the period, the Rangers then took advantage of a power-play chance as Mason Gerstner netted the puck with 41 seconds left in the power play and 1:01 on the clock.
The third period continued to feature hard hit after hard hit as neither team backed down, but it looked as if Brookings sealed the win when Trevor Kuechenmeister’s left-handed laser from the blue line went top right shelf to give the Rangers a 3-1 lead with 5:23 left in the game, with Niklason and Chapin picking up the assists.
But Rushmore wasn’t done as Lucas Ferdinand finally managed to get the puck past Ranger goalie Dylan Geraets less than a minute later after a major scrum in front of the Brookings net.
Still up 3-1 with 4 1/2 minutes to play, the Rangers not only didn’t panic, they kept up the pressure and added an insurance goal with 3:11 left in the game that truly put the nail in the Thunder’s coffin.
Alex Nielson got a piece of a Kuechenmeister shot that didn’t allow Rushmore goalie Alex Robin a chance to stop the deflection as Chapin also was credited with an assist.
Geraets finished with 31 saves for the win in net as Rushmore held a 32-21 advantage in shots while Robin garnered 17 stops.
“Rushmore’s game plan against us was to be physical – being the third game of the tournament and trying to wear us down,” Anderson said. “Our guys did a nice job of just playing hockey and not letting that get to their heads.
“It feels great – being a head coach, I see this as more of a reward to the players because it’s a long grind; it’s a long season with a lot of planning. Hats off to my assistant coach Jesse Hanson – he worked hard as well – but I thought it’s been a fun season.”
Note: Brookings ended the season with a 20-0-1-0 record against South Dakota teams – the first time a Ranger team has finished with an undefeated SDAHA mark.
Brookings 4, Rushmore 1
Rushmore 0 0 1 – 1
Brookings 0 2 2 – 2
Scoring: None. Penalties: R, Lucas Ferdinand (Roughing), 3:17; B, Cody Niklason (Hooking), 2:08.
Scoring: 1. Brookings – Matt Chapin (Cody Niklason, Brandin Heesch), 5:14. 2. Brookings – Mason Gerstner (Matt Chapin, Colton Kruse), pp, 1:01. Penalties: R, Jacob Lindblom (Cross-Checking), 13:46; R, Grant Wolthuis (Cross-Checking), 2:20.
Scoring: 3. Brookings – Trevor Kuechenmeister (Cody Niklason, Matt Chapin), 5:23. 1. Rushmore – Lucas Ferdinand (Brian Petereit), 4:29. 4. Brookings – Alec Nielson (Trevor Kuechenmeister, Matt Chapin), 3:11. Penalties: B, Matt Chapin (Roughing), 15:40; R, Tanner Good (Roughing), 2:17; B, Cody Niklason (Roughing), 2:17.
Shots on Goal – Rushmore: 5-12-15 – 32; Brookings 4-11-6 – 21. Power Plays – R 0-2; B 1-3. Saves – R, Alex Robin 17; B, Dylan Geraets 31.
• Watertown 4, S.F. East 3
After East opened the scoring, Watertown rallied with three straight goals to go up 3-1 early in the second period on the way to a 4-2 lead through two before holding on for the 4-3 win.
Treyton Ponto lit the lamp midway with 9:18 to play in the first as Zach Bain picked up the assist, but Alex Ortmeier tied the game less than two minutes later before Lukas Eide cashed in on a power-play chance with 40 seconds left in the period for a 2-1 Laker lead.
Eide set up Ortmeier’s goal and Ortmeier returned the favor on Eide’s tally.
Bubba Spiering’s short-handed goal less than six minutes into the second pushed Watertown’s lead to 3-1 as Ben DeVille earned the helper.
The Flyers answered 45 seconds later on the same power play to cut the lead to a goal when Jarrett Mescher netted the puck off assists from Nate Mohr and Brandt Newberg.
The Lakers needed just 37 seconds to go back up by two goals as Dawsyn Wirkus found the back of the net off a Dalton Barse setup.
The third period gave a good argument for going home after a state-tournament loss as the penalty minutes far outweighed goals as each team committed five infractions – with the majority of them being coincidental – as Watertown finished with 10 infractions, good for 20 minutes; while the Flyers had 12 minutes on six.
While all of that was going on, Mohr’s unassisted power-play goal with 9 minutes left to play pulled East within 4-3, but the Lakers held on to hoist the third-place trophy.
The Flyers held a 33-26 edge in shots as Robert Luken earned the win in goal with 30 saves while Tyler Breck notched 22 in the loss.
Watertown 4, S.F. East 3
S.F. East 1 1 1 – 3
Watertown 2 2 0 – 4
Scoring: 1. SF East – Treyton Ponto (Zach Bain), 9:18. 1. Watertown – Alex Ortmeier (Lukas Eide), 7:46. 2. Watertown – Lukas Eide (Alex Ortmeier), pp, 0:40. Penalties: W, Jayden Wilkens (Cross-Checking), 9:18; E, Jordan Long (Interference), 1:50.
Scoring: 3. Watertown – Bubba Spiering (Ben DeVille), sh, 11:09. 2. SF East – Jarrett Mescher (Nate Mohr, Brandt Newberg), pp, 10:24. 4. Watertown – Dawsyn Wirkus (Dalton Barse), 9:47. Penalties: W, Vaughn Doyen (Elbowing), 12:08; W, Lukas Eide (Interference), 8:34; W, Drey Reihe (Interference), 7:06; W, Ryan Falk (Tripping), 4:18.
Scoring: 3. SF East – Nate Mohr (unassisted), pp, 9:00. Penalties: W, Vaughn Doyen (Roughing), 14:26; E, Bryce Christie (Minor), 14:26; E, Grant Koerner (Minor), 14:26; W, Parker Riddle (Slashing), 10:37; E, Jordan Long (Roughing), 10:37; W, Vaughn Doyen (Tripping), 10:16; E, Dylan Ohling (Tripping), 1:47; W, Alex Ortmeier (Roughing), 1:47; W, Jayden Wilkens (Roughing), 0:15; E, Nate Mohr (Roughing), 0:15.
Shots on Goal – S.F. East: 9-18-6 – 33; Watertown 7-12-7 – 26. Power Plays – E 2-5; W 1-2. Saves – E, Tyler Breck 22; W, Robert Luken 30.
• Oahe 3, S.F. West 2
The Capitals built an early 3-0 lead and held on to claim the consolation championship.
Coleman Varty tallied an unassisted short-handed goal for Oahe with 6:16 left in the first before Jaden Griese sent the Caps into the intermission up two goals with another unassisted tally with 2:49 to play.
Spencer Wedin’s unassisted short-handed goal 2 1/2 minutes into the second period closed out Oahe’s scoring, but it was enough as West scored once in the single and a lone goal in the third.
Fanning Nathaniel got the Flyers off the goose egg with a short-handed goal set up by Collin Norlen with 2:29 left in the second.
Norlen then helped on Riley Sullivan’s goal 6 1/2 minutes into the third for the final score.
Brody Hultman earned the win in goal with 30 saves while Anthony Seykora finished with 30 stops for the Flyers in the loss.
Note: The teams combined for 38 minutes of penalty time on 15 infractions.
Oahe 3, S.F. West 2
Oahe 2 1 0 – 3
S.F. West 0 1 1 – 2
Scoring: 1. Oahe – Coleman Varty (unassisted), sh, 6:16. 2. Oahe – Jaden Griese (unassisted), 2:49. Penalties: O, Adam Meyer (Roughing), W, Keegan Anderson (Slashing), 3:26; O, Coleman Varty (Slashing), 3:04; W, Collin Norlen (Roughing), 0:54.
Scoring: 3. Oahe – Spencer Wedin (unassisted), sh, 14:30. 1. SF West – Fanning Nathaniel (Collin Norlen), sh, 2:29. Penalties: O, Chase Bolte (Slashing), 14:42; W, Husby Austin (Slashing), 13:04; W, Collin Norlen (Roughing), 11:22; O, Jaden Griese (Roughing), 11:22; Coleman Varty (Cross-Checking), 11:22; W, Riley Sullivan (Slashing), 9:27; O, Zach Fendrich (High-Sticking), 4:54; W, Husby Austin (Hooking), 2:49.
Scoring: 2. SF West – Riley Sullivan (Collin Norlen), 10:30. Penalties: W, Gabe Murphy (Interference), 12:55; W, Gabe Murphy (Unsportsmanlike Conduct-Misconduct), 12:55; O, Coleman Varty (Slashing), 8:36.
Shots on Goal – Oahe: 13-13-7 – 33; SF West 12-6-14 – 32. Power Plays – O 0-4; W 0-5. Saves – O, Brody Hultman 30; W, Anthony Seykora 30.
• Brookings 4, Watertown 0
The Rangers dominated play by outshooting Watertown, 32-6, for the game as they scored single goals in the first and third periods, while adding two in the second frame to advance to the championship.
Nielson opened the scoring less than seven minutes into play as Niklason and Chapin earned the assists.
In the second period, Colton Kruse pushed the lead to two goals less than 90 seconds in as Jordan Vlaminck and Akren Prodoehl provided the helpers.
Midway through, Chapin netted the puck off a setup by Niklason to give Brookings a 3-0 edge heading into the third.
Austin Lesnar provided for the final margin less than two minute into the final frame as Kullan Daikawa and Gerstner set up the goal.
Geraets stopped all six shots he faced for the shutout win while Luken tallied 28 saves.
Brookings 4, Watertown 0
Watertown 0 0 0 – 0
Brookings 1 2 1 – 4
Scoring: 1. Brookings – Alec Nielson (Cody Niklason, Matt Chapin), 10:16. Penalties: W, Jayden Wilkens (Holding), 8:30; B, Matt Chapin (Hooking), 2:47.
Scoring: 2. Brookings – Colton Kruse (Jordan Vlaminck, Akren Prodoehl), 15:32. 3. Brookings – Matt Chapin (Cody Niklason), 8:44. Penalties: B, Jordan Vlaminck (Elbowing), 8:30; W, Ryan Falk (Boarding), 1:47; W, Ryan Falk (Boarding-Misconduct), 1:47.
Scoring: 4. Brookings – Austin Lesnar (Kullan Daikawa, Mason Gerstner), 15:03. Penalties: B, Colton Kruse (Holding), 14:26; W, Bubba Spiering (Elbowing), 12:59; W, Alex Ortmeier (Slashing), 11:22; B, Jordan Vlaminck (Tripping), 10:19; W, Garrett Barse (Elbowing), 6:37; B, Too Many Men on Ice, 3:58; W, Lukas Eide (Cross-Checking), 2:48.
Shots on Goal – Watertown: 2-2-2 – 6; Brookings 9-10-11 – 32. Power Plays – W 0-5; B 0-6. Saves – W, Robert Luken 28; B, Dylan Geraets 6.
• Rushmore 6, S.F. East 0
The Thunder scored one goal in the first and then put the game away with five in the second to cruise to the 6-0 shutout of Sioux Falls East.
Nolan notched the first goal midway through the first as Grant Wolthuis and Ferdinand earned the assists.
Ferdinand opened the second-period onslaught with an unassisted tally just seven second in before Macintyre Braun lit the lamp 90 seconds later off a Gavin Gary setup.
Jacob Lindblom pushed the lead to four with a power-play goal off assists from Zach Bender and Tanner Good, and then, Braun scored his second goal off another Gary helper.
Brian Petereit sent the game into runtime with 5:57 to play as he found the back of the net off Nolan’s assist.
The Thunder held a 27-11 edge in shots as Robin earned the shutout win with 11 saves. Tristan Scandin stopped 12 of the 17 shots he faced while Breck notched nine saves over the final 28:54.
Rushmore 6, S.F. East 0
S.F. East 0 0 0 – 0
Rushmore 1 5 0 – 6
Scoring: 1. Rushmore – Ryan Nolan (Grant Wolthuis, Lucas Ferdinand), 9:39. Penalties: R, Grant Wolthuis (Slashing), 9:26; R, Dante Heredia (Holding), 4:33; E, Griffen Westra (Holding), 4:33.
Scoring: 2. Rushmore – Lucas Ferdinand (unassisted), 16:53. 3. Rushmore – Macintyre Braun (Gavin Gary), 15:20. 4. Rushmore – Jacob Lindblom (Zach Bender, Tanner Good), pp, 12:50. 5. Rushmore – Macintyre Braun (Gavin Gary), 11:54. 6. Rushmore – Brian Petereit (Ryan Nolan), 5:57. Penalties: E, Collin Geres (Cross-Checking), 14:27; E, Keaton Davis (Roughing), 11:23; E, Keaton Davis (Unsportsmanlike Conduct-Misconduct), 11:23; R, Austin Stiles (Unsportsmanlike Conduct), 6:01; E, Collin Geres (Cross-Checking), 6:01; R, Jacob Lindblom (Tripping), 2:48; R, Tanner Good (Roughing), 0:00; E, Brandt Newberg (Unsportsmanlike Conduct), 0:00.
Scoring: None. Penalties: R, Grant Wolthuis (Roughing), 13:47; E, Reegan Dykstra (Interference), 7:17; E, Collin Geres (Unsportsmanlike Conduct-Misconduct), 1:46.
Shots on Goal – SF East: 1-8-2 – 11; Rushmore 8-12-7 – 27. Power Plays – E 0-3; R 1-3. Saves – E, Tristan Scandin 12 (22:06), Tyler Breck 9 (28:54); R, Alex Robin 11.
• Oahe 9, Sioux Center 2
The Storm led 2-1 after a period before Oahe scored eight goals over the final two to advance to the consolation championship.
Spencer Vanravenswaay got Sioux Center on the scoreboard less than six minutes in as Bryce Van Dyken and Jacob Vander Plaats assisted on the goal.
Thirty-nine seconds later, Van Dyken notched an unassisted power-play goal to make it 2-0, Storm.
Kade McTighe tallied a buzzer-beating goal to cut the lead in half heading into the first intermission as Varty earned the assist.
The Capitals scored three goals over the final seven minutes of the second to take a 4-2 lead into the final period – Chase Bolte found the back of the net off a Talon Griese setup; McTighe notched his second goal as Varty and Bolte picked up assists; and Talon Gries lit the lamp off a Carsten Mueller assist.
Jaden Greise opened the third with an unassisted goal and five seconds later; Varty scored an unassisted goal for a 6-2 lead.
Mueller lit the lamp off a Bolte setup four minutes later before McTighe sent the game into run time with his hat-trick goal at the 8:32 mark as Connor Gerber and Varty earned assists.
Bolte capped off the scoring with a power-play goal with 3:55 left with the assist going to Zach Fendrich.
The Capitals held a 51-11 advantage in shots as Hultman had nine saves for the win while Logan Terjal stopped 42 shots for the Storm.
Oahe 9, Sioux Center 2
Sioux Center 2 0 0 – 2
Oahe 1 3 5 – 9
Scoring: 1. Sioux Center – Spencer Vanravenswaay (Bryce Van Dyken, Jacob Vander Plaats), 11:20. 2. Sioux Center – Bryce Van Dyken (unassisted), pp, 10:31. 1. Oahe – Kade McTighe (Coleman Varty), 0:01. Penalties: O, Spencer Wedin (Hooking), 12:57.
Scoring: 2. Oahe – Chase Bolte (Talon Griese), 7:04. 3. Oahe – Kade McTighe (Coleman Varty, Chase Bolte), 6:24. 4. Oahe – Talon Griese (Carsten Mueller), 1:25. Penalties: O, Connor Gerber (Interference), 4:15.
Scoring: 5. Oahe – Jaden Griese (unassisted), 15:37. 6. Oahe – Coleman Varty (unassisted), 15:32. 7. Oahe – Carsten Mueller (Chase Bolte), 11:27. 8. Oahe – Kade McTighe (Connor Gerber, Coleman Varty), 8:32. 9. Oahe – Chase Bolte (Zach Fendrich), pp, 3:55. Penalties: SC, Yassine Ben Saida (Boarding), 5:15; Yassine Ben Saida (Boarding-Misconduct), 5:15; O, Connor Gerber (Roughing), 1:40.
Shots on Goal – Sioux Center: 5-3-3 – 11; Oahe 22-15-14 – 51. Power Plays – SC 1-3; O 1-1. Saves – SC, Logan Terjal 42; O, Brody Hultman 9.
• S.F. West 4, Aberdeen 2
Tied 1-1 through two, the Flyers took the lead early in the third and then added an empty-net goal late for the final score.
After a scoreless first period, Riley Sullivan’s unassisted power-play goal less than three minutes into the second spotted West the early lead, but Derek Hunstad tied it up with 9:39 to play with a Cougar power-play goal as Isaac Casanova assisted.
Keegan Anderson scored three minutes into the third off a Malwitz setup to put West back up, and then, Malwitz scored on a power play as Norlen earned the assist with 6:18 left.
Desmond Dean cut the lead in half with an unassisted goal four minutes later, but Nicholas Tiegen took advantage of an empty Aberdeen net to score with 24 seconds on the clock for the final margin.
West outshot the Cougars, 36-14, as Seykora finished with 12 saves for the win in goal. Landon Danielson stopped 32 of the 35 shots that he face in the loss.
S.F. West 4, Aberdeen 2
Aberdeen 0 1 1 – 2
S.F. West 0 1 3 – 4
Scoring: None. Penalties: W, Husby Austin (Tripping), 5:57; A, Unsportsmanlike Conduct, 0:00.
Scoring: 1. SF West – Riley Sullivan (unassisted), pp, 14:10. 1. Aberdeen – Derek Hunstad (Isaac Casanova), pp, 9:39. Penalties: A, Matt Trenhaile (Elbowing), 14:28; W, Payton Stahnke (Interference), 10:27; W, Taten Thomassen (Charging), 10:27; W, Taten Thomassen (Charging-Misconduct), 10:27; A, Isaac Casanova (Cross-Checking), 9:18; W, Gabe Murphy (Tripping), 2:31; W, Husby Austin (Roughing), 0:54; W, Husby Austin (Unsportsmanlike Conduct-Game Penalty), 0:54.
Scoring: 2. SF West – Keegan Anderson (Braden Malwitz), 13:44. 3. SF West – Braden Malwitz (Collin Norlen), pp, 6:08. 2. Aberdeen – Desmond Dean (unassisted), 2:20. 4. SF West – Nicholas Tiegen (unassisted), empty net, 0:24. Penalties: W, Payton Stahnke (Tripping), 15:24; A, Matt Johnson (Hooking), 14:52; A, Derek Hunstad (Elbowing), 6:41.
Shots on Goal – Aberdeen: 5-5-4 – 14; SF West 5-12-19 – 36. Power Plays – A 1-6; W 2-5. Saves – A, Landon Danielson 32; W, Anthony Seykora 12.