seemed helpless Tuesday night in Andover, as the Huskies scored six goals in the third period and cruised to a 10-1 victory to end one roller-coaster of a season for the Knights.
But it also makred a season of firsts for the gold and blue.
Playing less than a week after celebrating the life of one of the squad’s best friends and former player, Luke Letellier, the Knights opened Section 7AA play on the road against an Andover team that’s flying under a lot of people’s radar, despite being ranked No. 2 in one of the tougher sections in high school hockey.
The two sides were even after one period. Tyler Jokinen scored for the Huskies in the early going, and Jake Larson answered for the Knights, getting the equalizer in the 17th minute.
But Andover broke the game open with a huge third period from Jared McComber, who scored in the opening minute to give the ‘dogs a 2-1 advantage, and then scored again in the ninth minute to stretch the lead to 3-1. Thirty seconds later, Chrstian Mohs made it 4-1 and the rout was on.
“Our problem has been getting hard on ourselves when we get behind. The stick gets tighter in your hands and you skate on edge,” said head coach Jerr Johnson. “That comes with experience, and learning to play at this level.”
In its first season in Minnesota hockey’s top league, the Knights finished with a winning record (14-10-1) and were second in the conference, with a season sweep of Buffalo on its resume as well.
“That’s huge for all of us,” said skater Tanner Martin, a senior. “To get Buffalo twice, it was the first time some of us have done that. It just shows how we’re getting better as a program.”
Larson, meanwhile, broke the school’s goal scoring record earlier this season, and climbed to second all-time in points. His 2012 season, which included 45 points, is among the top five all time.
“He’s just a guy who pushes himself to get better each day. He practices hard, plays hard. He’s been a huge player for this program for three years,” Johnson said.
Larson said he hopes the 2012 team has paved the way for future success.
“Our younger players are already playing against big schools like Edina, Wayzata and the rest in tournaments. They’re going to come up knowing that competition,” Larson said. “It will be fun to come back and watch.”