VIRGINIA — The Virginia/Mountain Iron-Buhl boys’ hockey team ran in to a tough Class AA Grand Rapids team on Tuesday night.
The Thunderhawks scored four second period goals on their way to a 7-2 win over the Blue Devils.
Grand Rapids jumped out to a 1-0 lead just 2:28 in to the contest when sophomore Ren Morque scored his first varsity goal when he ripped a wrist shot past Blue Devils netminder Ian Kangas.
The Thunderhawks made it a 2-0 contest when junior John Bonner picked up a rebound off a Braeden Holcomb shot to beat Kangas.
The period came to an end with the Thunderhawks leading 2-0 and Kangas turning away 16 shots in the period.
“They are a great AA team,” Virginia/Mountain Iron-Buhl coach Cale Finseth said. “They showed it from the drop of the puck in the first period.”
Thunderhawks goalie Carter Clafton only had to stop two shots in the first period.
Grand Rapids really showed their skating and passing skills in the second frame.
They made it a 3-0 game just a little over a minute in to the period when Hunter Bischoff picked up a rebound of a Maccrea Murphy shot and wrapped it around the net past Kangas.
Bischoff scored his second goal of game after his line passed the puck around the Blue Devils zone and he found himself with the puck, all by himself in front of Kangas. He put it in to put the Thunderhawks up 4-0.
“They move the puck around out there so well,” Finseth said about the ‘Hawks second period.
The Thunderhawks lead was lifted to 5-0, less than a minute after the second Bischoff goal when Wyatt Miskovich picked up a loose puck in front of Kangas and fired it in.
The final goal of the second period came when Wyatt Zuehlke hit Holcomb with a pass allowing the junior to hit a wide open Hunter Bonner, who slid it past Kangas to make it 6-0 after two periods.
Kangas kicked out 17 shots in the period to make it 33 saves through two periods.
“He was outstanding out there,” Finseth said. “They just peppered him with shots and he stood tall out there came up big.”
Clafton kicked out five in the period for the Thunderhawks.
He would then take the rest of the night off.
With a six-goal lead, the third period started with the clock in running time.
The Thunderhawks made it a 7-0 game when Grant Wilson beat Kangas on a goal assisted by Wade Brouse and Murphy.
The rest of the third period was controlled by the Blue Devils.
Just a little over four minutes in to the period, Virginia/Mountain Iron-Buhl junior Brett Oakland picked up a pass from Brennan Peterson and made a great move around a Thunderhawks defenseman and fired the puck past new Grand Rapids netminder Jacob Ahcan to make it a 7-1 game.
With the Thunderhawks holding a six goal lead, the clock was still running. That was until after putting more pressure on the Grand Rapids goal, Ryan Scherf was right in front of the Thunderhawks goal and a Brady Seppala shot bounced right off Scherf’s chest and past Ahcan.
That goal stopped the running time, but neither team could score the rest of the period.
“I am proud of these guys,” Finseth said. “I told them we won that third period 2-1. They didn’t give up out there against a great team.
Kangas kicked out 9 shots in the third period to end the game with 42 saves.
Next up for the Blue Devils is a trip up to Warroad on Friday for an 8 p.m. game.
Then they will face Lake of the Woods on Saturday, at 1 p.m.
“We are going to face two good teams this weekend,” Finseth said. “We are going to have to be ready to play both days and play some good hockey.”
GR 2 4 1 — 7
VMIB 0 0 2 — 2
1, GR, Ren Morque (Brandon Goehring) 2:28; 2, GR, John Bonner (Braeden Holcomb, Goehring) 4:58;
3, GR Hunter Bischoff (Maccrea Murphy) 1:16; 4, GR, Bischoff (Murphy, Joey DelGreco) 3:28; 5, GR, Wyatt Miskovich (Morque) 4:02; 6, GR, Bonner (Holcomb, Wyatt Zuehlke) 8:21;
7, GR, Grant Wilson (Wade Brouse, Murphy) 2:15; 8, V/MIB, Brett Oakland (Brennan Peterson) 4:52; 9, V/MIB, Ryan Scherf (Brady Seppala) 12:15;
Saves: GR, Carter Clafton 2-5 — 5; Jacob Ahcan 3; V/MIB Ian Kangas 16-17-9 — 42
Penalties GR, 1-2; V/MIB 1-2