The Marshall Bantam A hockey team got a special visit from NHL player Jason Blake of the Anaheim Ducks last week during a team practice. Blake, who is originally from Bemidji, came to the Marshall area for pheasant hunting. An NHL All-Star in the 2006-07 season, Blake signed autographs and posed for pictures while attending the Marshall Bantam A team practice.
The Marshall Bantam A team also had a game last week, opening up the season against Willmar on Friday night in a 3-2 loss.
It was a physical game, as Marshall center Jake Buysse sustained a concussion in his second shift of the season.
The Marshall Bantam A hockey team poses with Anaheim Duck Jason Blake during a practice last week. Front row, from left, Colin Pfeiffer, Jacob Buysse, Matt VanKeulen, Nick Fosvick, Sabastion Landry and Mason Penske. Back row: Coach Nathan Haukom, head coach Ryan Serreyn, Brent Haukom, Derrick Timm, Aaron Owen, Sam Kontz, Mitchel Ellingson, Clay Stevens, Dillion Criquet-Danielson, Jackson Luther, Coach Harley Metheny, Blake VanKeulen and Jason Blake.
"The coaches wanted us to come out physical in the offensive zone and set the tone of the game," said Marshall wing Jackson Luther.
Marshall found itself down 2-0 in the second period when Blake VanKeulen put home the Tigers' first goal on an assist from Matt VanKeulen. Marshall tied the game later on with Clay Stevens scoring the equalizer on an assist from Mitchel Ellingson.
Willmar earned the game-winning goal on a penalty shot against Marshall goalie Sam Kontz in the third frame.