MARSHALL - After falling to the Windom Area Eagles for the first time in seven seasons 5-4 on Nov. 29, the Marshall boys' hockey team had a shot at revenge with the Eagles visiting Lockwood Motors Ice Arena on Tuesday.
Behind a pair of goals resulting from gritty plays, the Tigers used a 2-1 victory to even the season series with their Southwest Conference rivals.
The Tigers (7-7-1 overall, 5-2 SWC) had been shutout by section opponent Litchfield/Dassel-Cokato on Saturday and knew that the key to finding their scoring touch would require a return to "lunch pail hockey."
Photo by Travis Andries
Marshall’s Corey Clark, center, and a Tiger teammate battle for the puck with a Windom Area player in Tuesday’s Southwest Conference game at Lockwood Motors Ice Arena.
"Just got to keep going to the net to get the garbage goals and the greasy goals," Marshall head coach Dave Coudert said of his team's goal-scoring strategy. "We had a couple tonight that were off of rebounds and nice and greasy. Those are the ones that win games."
Windom actually struck first in the game. After rattling the post on a breakaway during the game's opening shift, the Eagles took advantage of a Tiger turnover at their offensive blue line to take a 1-0 lead just one minute, 19 seconds into the game.
As the puck jumped the stick of a Marshall defenseman it was scooped up by the Eagles' Mitchell Macek. The junior forward streaked down the right boards, cutting into the center of the ice late and tucking a shot over the shoulder of Marshall goaltender Mason Campion just under the cross bar.
Windom1 0 0-1
Marshall1 0 1-2
W-Mitchell Macek, 1:19
M-Andrew Bell (Corey Clark), 6:27
M-Quinn Horvath (Beau Mikel), 9:28 PP
Shots on Goal: W-21; M-35
Goaltenders: W-Ben Stubbe (33 saves); M-Mason Campion (20 saves)
Campion settled in after the initial flurry, however, making 20 consecutive saves to give the Tigers a chance for the come-from-behind win.
"The goal wasn't his fault," Coudert said. "We had a misstep on the (defense) and the puck popped out. Then he bounced back to make some huge saves and just settled in to make the saves when we needed them."
The Tigers struck back a little less than five minutes later with their first hard-nosed goal of the night.
Corey Clark gathered the puck at center ice and moved around the Windom defense just inside the blueline. Clark continued to drive hard to the net and fired a sharp-angle shot off of the Windom goalie's pads. The rebound landed on the stick of Andrew Bell who sailed the puck into the gaping goal at the 6:27 mark of the opening period.
Clark, who provided a spark for the Tigers with his physical play each time on the ice, also factored in on the game-winning goal.
Following a scoreless second period that saw the Tigers go 0-for-2 on the powerplay, Clark drew a hooking penalty on Windom's Tyler Presthus with 7:42 left in regulation. Leo Zerr initially forced a turnover for Marshall at the Windom blueline, while the puck careened off of his shin pads and onto the stick of Clark. The Tiger senior was nearly in the clear and in prime scoring position when he was dragged down by Presthus. Marshall would score 10 seconds later.
"Corey had a heck of a game," Coudert said. "He was flying the whole time and really maintaining control and pressure on their team."
Marshall won the ensuing faceoff and Beau Mikel battled to the side of the net. As the Windom penalty killers collapsed on the puck, Mikel feathered a pass across the face of the crease to find Quinn Horvath uncovered and staring at a wide open goal. Horvath buried the shot and the Tigers led 2-1 with 7:32 to play in the game.
The Tigers weathered a few rushes by the Eagles, as well as a nearly 20 minute delay after Tiger defenseman Brent Haukom was checked through the glass, in order to pick up the win. Crucial to their victory was silencing the offensive potential of Windom's Travis Janssen, the state's fifth leading scorer who also had four of Windom's five goals back in November.
"Today it was just, everyone knew their assignments in the offensive zone," Coudert said of Marshall's efforts to keep Janssen off the score sheet. "We wanted to make sure that we kept a guy high in case he got loose. We just wanted to bottle neck and put a body on him."
Marshall will need to keep that strategy in mind for its next contest, as another of Minnesota's top point producers comes to town.
The Tigers host the Morris/Benson Area Storm for Hawaiian Night on Thursday. Along with the Storm comes Tanner Picht, whose 29 goals are the best in the state and his 45 points are second best.