The Marshall boys' hockey team saw its season come to an end on Saturday in St. Peter, as the No. 2-seeded Tigers fell 4-3 to No. 3 Luverne.
Finishing the season at 18-6-1 overall, Marshall had trouble avoiding penalties, serving 17 minutes in the penalty box. The Cardinals capitalized, going 3 of 6 with the man advantage, starting with Cody Christensen's power-play goal 90 seconds into the game.
"We just didn't start off very well. We had a penalty in the first minute-and-a-half and they scored right away," said Tigers head coach Kori Pearson.
"We started to play well after that."
At 8:40, Marshall's top point-scorer in the regular season, Beau Mikel, put the Tigers on the scoreboard, burying the puck with assists from Leo Zerr and Nolan Schaeffer. Mikel, along with Matt Campion, added assists to a power-play goal by Quinn Horvath two minutes later, putting Marshall up 2-1 after the first period. Mikel led the Tigers with 26 points this season (11 goals, 15 assists).
After a tight second period, Marshall found itself in penalty trouble again, dealing with a five-minute boarding penalty. Luverne's Dylan Skattum capitalized on the man advantage to tie the game late in the period.
"Up until that five-minute penalty we took, we had the better part of the play in the second period," Pearson said. "Their special teams were, well, special (Saturday)."
Carrying the momentum into the third period, the Cardinals punched in a quick goal early in the third as Skyler Wenninger scored on the power play. Midway through the period and with a player in the penalty box, Jonny Solma scored a short-handed goal for a 4-2 advantage.
The Tigers' offense suffered a blow in the third period after Mikel was injured and missed the rest of the contest. With 1:01 left, Horvath added his second goal of the game to pull Marshall to within a goal.
Trying to tie the game, Marshall put all the pressure it could on the Cardinals, holding a 23-11 advantage in shots in the period. But Luverne held tough, and advanced to the section finals.
"About 10 seconds left, it looked like they were going to clear it, but they whiffed and we got the puck back," Pearson said. "Time ran out when we were swarming to the net and we couldn't get it in."
Luverne heads back to St. Peter on Friday to take on top-seeded New Ulm, who defeated Hutchinson 4-3 in overtime.
For the Tigers, who won the Southwest Conference championship, it was the final game for seniors Andrew Buysse, Chris Walker, Matt Campion, Hunter Kontz, Max Deutz, Kiley Maki and Bryce Peterson.
"All seven of them are really going to be missed," Pearson said. "We lost 12 seniors from the year before, and they all really stepped up."
Luverne1 1 2-4
Marshall2 0 1-3
L-Cody Christensen (Austin Maxwell, Gunnar Olson), 1:34 (PP)
M-Beau Mikel (Leo Zerr, Nolan Schaeffer), 8:40
M-Quinn Horvath (Mikel, Matt Campion), 10:31
L-Dylan Skattum (Logan Norman, Jordan Dingmann), 15:53 (PP)
L-Skyler Wenninger (Jonny Solma, Christensen), 0:45 (PP)
L-Solma, 10:29 (SH)
M-Horvath (Andrew Buysse), 15:59
Shots on Goal: L-25; M-37.
Goaltenders: Kendall Meyer (34 saves); M-Mason Campion (21 saves).