Blizzard still searching for consistency

The Alexandria Blizzard was still looking to capitalize on a few more chances after back-to-back home games with Breezy Point this past weekend.

Alexandria dominated the pace of play in both games but had to settle for a weekend split. The Blizzard won 5-3 on Saturday after falling 3-2 the night before.

Alexandria outshot the North Stars 42-22 in its win but came out on the wrong side of the scoreboard, despite outshooting Breezy Point 47-23 on Friday.

The Blizzard’s Ian Eckland handled the puck behind the net during Alexandria’s home opener against Granite City. Eckland is tied with Garrett Skinner for the team lead in points with 10. (Echo Press photo by Lori Mork)

“The big thing with us is consistency right now,” coach Jeff Crouse said. “We need to make sure we play consistent hockey. Friday night, we outshot them really but, but we didn’t bring it right away. When we do what we are supposed to do, we’re really good. When we don’t bring it, we’re pretty average.”

The Blizzard took advantage of those chances on Saturday by taking a 3-1 lead into the second intermission. The two teams played to a scoreless tie through one period before the Blizzard’s Joe Anderson, Karson Kuntz and Ricky Seidel each scored in the middle frame.

Seidel added his second of the night in the third off assists from Garrett Skinner and Tanner Duffney. Duffney then put the finishing touches on things himself with a goal at 14:58 in the final frame.

Alexandria had a tough time finding the net the night before. Danny Pelzer gave the Blizzard a 1-0 lead through one period, but Breezy Point responded with three straight goals in the second period. Alexandria’s Jack Wensman made it 3-2 with a goal late in the middle period, but the Blizzard could not add the equalizer in the third, despite putting 20 shots on net.

“I think right now it’s something you got to live with,” Crouse said of the up-and-down play. “Usually with young kids, it’s about mid-November and it kind of clicks. Guys get more used to each other, their surroundings and the light kind of goes on. It’s all part of being young. We had a good talk with the guys this week, and they know. We’re really close.”

The split will send Alexandria into a match-up on the road against Twin City this Saturday with a record of 5-5. The Blizzard’s 10 points have them sitting in third place in the West standings behind Granite City (20) and North Iowa (13). Granite City still has a perfect record at 10-0.

“It’s stay focused and play our game,” Crouse said of the match-up with Twin City. “Play Blizzard hockey. You have to bring it every night, and I think we learned our lesson Friday night with Breezy. Play our game. We only have one game in the next two weeks, so we need to take care of business.”