MARSHALL - Entering the Class A Boys Hockey Section 3 Tournament, the Marshall Tigers are looking to use the momentum they have gained during the second half of the season in the playoffs.
MHS (12-12-0) earned the No. 5 seed in the Class A Section 3 Tournament and will travel to play No. 4 seed Hutchinson (10-13-1) at 7 p.m. today. Despite having the better record, Marshall lost to Hutchinson 4-1 earlier this season.
Under first-year head coach Michael Weiss, the Tigers began this season with four wins among their first 12 games. But MHS followed that span with eight victories in its next nine games, including seven straight wins at the front of the hot streak.
"We know, when we are playing well, we have the chance to beat anyone," Marshall head coach Michael Weiss said. "Having that (winning) streak gave us that confidence toward the end of the season."
In contrast, Hutchinson has been in a funk recently. The team also nicknamed the Tigers, has won two of its last 10 games and they are 5-7-0 at home this season, while Marshall is 5-5-0 on the road.
"I would say our team is similar to Hutchinson," Weiss said. "They have some high-end forwards that we have to watch out for, but we have played hard every time we have met them. It should be a good game."
MHS went 8-2-0 to finish second in the Southwest Conference, while Hutchinson went 4-8-0 to end up fifth in the Wright County Conference.
Hutchinson average 3.4 goals per game, while allowing 4.3 goals. Marshall has outscored its foes this season, averaging 3.3 goals on offense and 2.9 goals on defense.
Blaine Moran (11 goals, 15 assists, 26 points) leads an MHS offense that features eight different players with 12 or more points. The rest of the Marshall attack is highlighted by Derek Rasmussen (11-14-25), Alex Buysse (10-15-25), Andrew Bell (8-15-23), Brent Haukom (6-15-21), Taylor Rasmussen (8-7-15), Dylan Criquet-Danielson (10-3-13) and Sebastian Landry (7-5-12).
Moran and Derek Rasmussen are tied for the Marshall lead in goals with 11. Buysse and Criquet-Danielson both add 10 more. The Tigers have five players with 14 assists of more - Derek Rasmussen (14), Moran (15), Buysse (15), Bell (15) and Haukom (15).
Bell, Buysse and Haukom are comfortable on the power play, where Bell has 15 points (six goals, nine assists), Buysse has 13 points (three goals, 10 assists) and Haukom has 11 points (six goals, five assists).
"We have benefitted from having a lot of guys who can score this year," Weiss said. "There a few different guys who can get us some goals, assists and points. It's good to know that we have the two solid lines."
Goaltending and defense have sparked Marshall this season.
Mason Campion, the Tigers' starting netminder, is 10-12-0 overall with a goals-against average of 3.00. He has made 489 saves on 552 shots on-goal. Jon Loefke is 2-0-0 for the Tigers with a goals-against average of 1.67. He has made 46 saves on 51 shots on-goal.
MHS defensemen include Haukom, Criquet-Danielson, Nate Hoeft, Nick Fosvick, Casper Larsen, Colin Pfeiffer and Derek Timm.
"Our defense is going to have to keep up with Hutchinson's rush and to hold the blue line. That should be a big matchup, along with good goaltending, hopefully," Weiss said.