The St. Michael-Albertville boys' hockey team used a solid second period to skate away from a young, pesky Legacy Christian Club, chalking up a 6-1 victory on its home ice Tuesday night.
Jake Larson had a hat trick, and Tanner Martin had three assists, as the Knights used a big second period to open up the game, and then added some insurance in the third.
Leading just 1-0 in the second off a goal by Larson about five minutes into the first period, the Knights quickly made it 2-0 just 44 seconds into the second period. Alex Gibbs scored on a feed from Larson and chalked up a power play goal.
The Knights would make it 3-0 just moments later. This time, it was all Larson, who got the feed around center ice and broke down the left side. Larson, the team's leading scorer with 22 points after 10 games, broke in on goalie Nick Stolarczyk and beat him on his glove side for a shorthanded breakaway.
"He's just one of the best scorers we've had here," said head coach Jerr Johnson. "He's got a nose for the puck. He can create. And he's just dangerous in open space. It's nice to have a guy like that who's also a team player, and Jake is."
The Knights' offense would continue to be the key, as Brett Marshall would make it 4-0 on an even-strength goal for the Knights.
Legacy got on the board late in the second period, beating Andrew Semo with a power play goal of their own. Semo and the Knights defense had been strong to that point, stopping two breakways in the second period with a pair of great defensive stops by the Knights defensmen, and then Semo making a couple of huge saves, one on his back, as STMA built its lead.
"Andy's got the experience. He played a couple of games last season for us in net and has the opportunity this year to really establish himself," Johnson said.
It’s the Knights fourth win in five games. Though they were dumped, 7-0, by Rochester Lourdes, STMA had a solid holiday break with wins over Sauk Centre (7-3), New Ulm (7-5) and Albert Lea (4-2), the last two at the Rochester Tournament.
The Knights will put their 6-4 record to the test Saturday at 1 p.m., when they skate at vs. Buffalo. The Bison are widely considered to be the top team in a shallow Mississippi 8 Conference this season.
“We only have five teams now, so every game is going to mean a lot. And Buffalo’s a huge rival in any sport, so we want to get that one. Especially on home ice,” Johnson said.