MARSHALL - Facing a Fairmont team on a 14-game winless streak, the Marshall boys' hockey team had more goals in mind than just winning Saturday's non-conference home game at Lockwood Motors Ice Arena. One of those goals was to, well, score more goals.
Riding a three-game winning streak, the Tigers had been putting the puck in the net enough to come out on top in its recent games, but with the sheer number of shots on goal they had been generating, they felt they should have scored more.
Saturday, the Marshall players not only put an assault on net, they also saw the payoff. Piling up 51 shots on goal, the Tigers blew away the hapless Cardinals in an 8-2 victory.
It was exactly the performance they were hoping for.
"We knew we kind of had to build off this game because we hadn't been putting in a lot of pucks lately," said senior forward Corey Clark, who scored two goals in the game. "We have a big week coming up, so with kids putting away a lot of goals it gets our confidence up and maybe we can carry that over and score a lot of goals in our next two games."
The Tigers (10-7-1 overall) showed they were the superior squad right from the start, outshooting the Cardinals (1-15-1) 21-6 in the opening period. Nine minutes into the game, Tyler Untiedt centered a pass from behind the net to Andrew Bell, who had no defenders near him in front of goal and slapped home the Tigers' first score. Thirty seconds later, Clark scored his first goal of the game on another assist from Untiedt, beating Cardinal goalie Colton Cunning top shelf.
Fairmont0 1 1-2
Marshall2 5 1-8
M-Andrew Bell (Tyler Untiedt, Corey Clark), 8:52
M-Clark (Untiedt), 9:19
M-Beau Mikel (Casper Larsen), 1:51
M-Derek Rasmussen (Quinn Horvath), 4:05
M-Walker Werpy (Taylor Rasmussen, Taylor Pickthorn), 5:56
M-Mikel (Horvath, D. Rasmussen), 7:52
F-Greg Claeys (unassisted), 12:32
M-D. Rasmussen (Mikel, Horvath), 14:38
M-Clark (Untiedt), 1:24
F-Grant Becker (Brock Johnson), 16:00
Shots on Goal: F-13; M-50.
Goaltenders: F-Colton Cunning (42 saves); M-Mason Campion (11 saves), Austin Kelm (0 saves).
The barrage of shots continued into the second period as the Tigers totally dominated play. Marshall got off 17 shots in the period and scored on five of them. Beau Mikel and Derek Rasmussen each scored twice in the period, with Walker Werpy adding the other. Fairmont also scored a goal in the period, but the Tigers had already gained a six-goal lead by then.
Marshall head coach Dave Coudert said he didn't want his squad to play to the level of its struggling opponent. There was no such drop in play at any point in the game.
"With our skill and our speed we were able to maintain pressure," Coudert said. "We were able to get all four lines rolling today and contributing on the scoreboard, so that was nice. We just asked the guys to keep going and make sure they were competing at a high level and that's what they did all game."
Clark scored his second goal of the game 1 minute, 24 seconds into the third period on another assist by Untiedt to give Marshall an 8-1 lead. Though he said he personally could have done a little better at finishing on his shot attempts, he thought the Tigers did much better at putting home their scoring opportunities than they had in previous games.
"We capitalized on those 3-on-2s going into their zone and then we always had a guy in front of their net for those rebounds because their goalie was giving up a lot of rebounds, so that was nice we had a guy up front there who was able to put away a lot of those rebounds," he said. "And we were picking our corners pretty good today."
Now on a four-game winning streak, the Tigers have just four games left in the regular season. This week is an important one for the team, as Marshall faces Southwest Conference foe Morris/Benson Area Tuesday in Benson and then takes on Section 3A opponent New Ulm on the road Thursday.
"This winning streak is big," Clark said. "Especially late in the season when we're going into sections, it gets our confidence up and with a big win like this, getting these goals, it gets our confidence up, too. It's just a confidence-builder for the end of the season so we can finish strong."