After starting the season on the road for the first seven games, Pine City finally got to host a home game. New Section 5A foe St. Francis rolled into town on a perfect Friday night for hockey. The Dragons will go into almost every game this season with a "must win" mindset as they will need as many section wins as possible to give them a better chance for a high seed in the playoffs. Adversity struck the Dragons for the past week seeing injuries and illness making this team question whether they would even be able to play a full varsity roster for this game but the team pulled together and pulled off a 4-1 victory.
The Dragons came out of the gate a little sluggish as neither team had much for offense going through the first 10 minutes of the game. Pine City finally broke free at the 7:00 mark when Seth Linnell forced a turnover in the St. Francis zone and took the puck to the net and finished off a strong goal giving the Dragons a 1-0 lead. Immediately following the goal the Pine City Civic Center rained down with teddy bears for the "Teddy Bear Toss". Fans from Pine City threw stuffed animals out on the ice that would be collected and donated to Toys for Tots. Pine City ended the first period up 1-0.
The second period started with the Dragons on a 5:00 power play after an aggressive hit by St. Francis forward Cody Strate on Jimmy Lindblom sent him the penalty box with a major penalty. Pine City squandered their chance at opening up the game by not getting any real chances on net during the five minute penalty and St. Francis was filled with momentum after killing a five minute major. The next 10 minutes would flip back to the Dragons however as they took chance after chance on goal and senior goalie Caleb Young kept the Fighting Saints fighting in the game and held on to a 1-0 lead. Pine City senior Dusty Bergstrom took the puck forward with a little over a minute left in the second period and fed a beautiful pass to another senior George Miller who went top shelf over Young to give the Dragons a two goal lead. Just 45 seconds later Bergstrom added a goal of his own also choosing the top shelf route and Pine City was celebrating a three goal lead heading into the second intermission.
The third period was actually controlled by St. Francis for most of the seventeen minutes but Alex Laven held strong in the net and the defense in front of him played well helping the Dragons finish off a 4-1 victory. Gabe Westbrook scored a powerplay goal for Pine City and Gunnar Grams added a "too little too late" goal for St. Francis.
PC 1 2 1 = 4
SF 0 0 1 = 1
The Dragons move to 4-2 on the season. They have three games next week with two more big Section 5A matchups against Mora on Tuesday and Sauk Rapids on Thursday.
Photo Credit Lancelot Furber