MARSHALL - Coming off of back-to-back disappointing performances, the Marshall boys' hockey team had one final opportunity to turn things around before the start of the playoffs with Tuesday night's game against St. Peter/LeSueur-Henderson. But falling behind early against the visiting Bulldogs, the Tigers continued their slide as they fell 5-2 in a non-conference contest at Lockwood Motors Ice Arena.
St. Peter/L-H pulled out a a 3-0 lead through the first two periods and Marshall was unable to get anything past massive Bulldogs goalie Chris Amsden until the game was already out of reach.
The Tigers, who have battled a string of injuries late in the season, lost a 7-1 contest to Section 3A rival New Ulm Jan. 31, then fell 6-3 to the Sioux Falls Flyers on Feb. 5. Marshall head coach Dave Coudert and his squad were looking to use Tuesday's game against the Bulldogs as a springboard into the postseason, but it turned into another setback as the team struggled to get an early goal.
"We know they have an all-star goalie and we know we had to attack him, and we didn't do that in the first period," Coudert said. "In the third period when we finally did get some shots on, they went in.
"We felt we should have been able to speed past their defense because their 'D' didn't look as strong as our forwards. We didn't get on that. The quick goal at the end of the period really kind of set us back."
St. Peter/L-H (11-11-1) got on the scoreboard six minutes into the game when Brett Zallek deflected a shot on goal to the upper-right corner of the net to beat Marshall goalie Mason Campion. The Bulldogs got a second goal with just 34 seconds left in the period when Brock Solomon put home a rebound.
The Tigers were outshot 7-4 in the opening period, but put on better pressure over the next two periods. They had a 13-6 edge on shots in the second period and finished the game with 26 shots on goal to 23 for St. Peter/L-H.
Despite their better effort, the Tigers gave up another goal in the second period and were unable to find the net themselves. Marshall finally got on the scoreboard in the third when the Tigers turned a Bulldog turnover into a goal by Tyler Untiedt midway through the period. Marshall's Quinn Horvath added a final goal with five minutes remaining to make the score 5-2.
Zallek finished the game with a pair of goals, while Ryan Hoehn and Solomon each had a goal and an assist.
"I think they had quality shots, quality rebounds, second or third attempts. Most of them were great shots to high spots on the net," Coudert said of the Bulldogs.
Marshall now awaits seedings for the Section 3A tournament, which will be released today. The Tigers weren't able to create any momentum in their final three games, but Coudert hopes they can find some sort of spark as they enter the playoffs.
"Basically, the real season starts now," Coudert said. "We're getting Alex (Buysse) back from injury, he was back in the lineup tonight, and the real season starts tomorrow."
St. Peter/L-H2 1 2-5
Marshall0 0 2-2
SP-Brett Zallek (Levi Steuck, Ryan Hoehn), 6:10
SP-Brock Solomon (Sam Gerdts), 16:26
SP-Zallek (Solomon, Austin Braun), 7:49
SP-John Favre (unassisted), 4:40
M-Tyler Untiedt (unassisted), 9:31
SP-Hoehn (Luke Regner, Sam Wenner), 11:35 PP
M-Quinn Horvath (Adam McVey), 12:00
Shots on Goal: SP-23; M-26.
Goaltenders: SP-Chris Amsden (24 saves); M-Mason Campion (18 saves).