The Cardinal boys’ hockey team got a win that felt a little bigger than normal for this early in the season on Tuesday night.
Down 3-0 a little more than a minute into the second period against section favorite Little Falls, Alexandria had every reason to believe it was done. Instead, the Cardinals bounced back with two goals in the second period. They got another in the third to force overtime before capping off the comeback on a game winner from senior Charlie Wensman.
“It is a big booster,” head coach Scott Woods said. “Not only to beat them but to come back. They also know they can get outshot, but play good defensively so the shots don’t matter so much. It’s the rebounds and in-close shots that we are concerned with.”
Little Falls peppered the net all night. The Flyers outshot Alexandria 50-25 but had nothing to show for it through much of the final two periods. The Cardinals defense kept a lot of those shots on the perimeter down the stretch and junior goaltender Ben Allen finished with 47 saves to pick up his third win of the season.
Seniors Tom Schmidt and Wensman provided the offense. Schmidt got the Cardinals going with a goal two minutes, 16 seconds into the second. Wensman then converted a 2-on-1 opportunity late in the period that made it 3-2 going into the second intermission.
“The first goal got us fired up,” Woods said. “The second one really made us believe. That’s when we started backchecking and picking up sticks. We realized we could win if we didn’t give up another one.”
Schmidt brought Alexandria all the way back with his second goal of the night just a minute, 33 seconds into the third. That’s how the two teams went into overtime before Wensman capped off a thrilling early-season win for the Cardinals.
“It would have been easy to fold,” Woods said. “I really don’t think our guys quit, even in the Brainerd game (an 8-0 loss). They are a very competitive group. It shows up in practice as well. That will be a good thing to look back to if we get down in the playoffs.”