Knights end long losing streak against Totino-Grace

Twice a season, the Irondale/St. Anthony Village and Totino-Grace boys hockey teams square off with conference standings points and, probably more importantly, bragging rights in the balance. Totino-Grace, the private school located in Fridley, tends to attract players who grew up playing in Irondale’s youth association so usually there are friends and former teammates playing against each other when the Knights and Eagles meet.

When Irondale welcomed Totino-Grace to the Super Rink on the afternoon of Jan. 23, it had been more than 15 years since the Knights emerged victorious over the Eagles. That streak came to an end on Saturday as Irondale knocked off Totino-Grace 5-3.

The victory snapped Irondale's string of 29 straight losses to Totino-Grace, a streak that dated back to 2001. The Knights’ previous most-recent win was a 5-4 triumph on Jan. 6, 2001.

A decisive second period was one key to getting Irondale over the hump on Saturday. With the score tied at 2-2, the Knights scored three straight goals in the second period. Jake Fuhr started the barrage with a power-play tally 3:55 in and put Irondale up by two with another man-advantage goal at 7:02.

Tanner Eskro made it a three-goal game with an even-strength marker at 10:08. From there, it was up to the defense and goaltender David Mulligan.

Totino-Grace got back to within two with a goal in the final two minutes of the second period but that would be the extent of the scoring.

The Eagles pressed hard to try and get back into the game in the third but Mulligan was up to the task. He stopped all 24 shots he faced and finished with 42 saves.

Irondale never trailed as Jack Moore opened the scoring for the Knights just 3:13 into the game. Totino-Grace tied it seven minutes later but the Knights went back in front at 14:03 on Eskro's first goal of the game. 

That lead lasted only 20 seconds, however, as the Eagles answered quickly to close out the scoring in the first period.

Fuhr led the Knights with four points on two goals and two assists. Eskro had a two-point game with his two tallies and Moore added an assist for another two-point performance. Also recording points on single assists were Tanner LaMotte and Louis Meysembourg.

In addition to putting the losing streak to Totino-Grace to rest, Saturday's win also snapped the Knights' seven-game losing streak that dated back to late December. Irondale's most-recent win had been a 5-2 victory over Henry Sibley in the semifinals of the Roseau holiday tournament on Dec. 29.

The win over Totino-Grace gives Irondale six victories on the season, which is as many as the Knights had won in the two previous seasons combined. 

Next up on the schedule for the Knights is another longtime rival in Spring Lake Park (13-6). The Panthers are having a nice season after having gone to the Class A state tournament last season but enter Thursday's game at the Super Rink seeking revenge. Irondale (6-12) knocked off Spring Lake Park 4-2 on Dec. 22 in a game that was the start of a three-game winning streak for the Knights.

That winning streak, which included holiday-tournament wins over Minot and Henry Sibley, was the longest for Irondale since it won four in a row in January of 2012.

Irondale's other game this week is on Saturday at home against Coon Rapids (4-15), which beat the Knights 5-3 back on Jan. 7.

Brian Meyers can be reached at bmeyers@lillienews.com or 651-748-7819. Follow him on Twitter @BMeyersNews.


Northwest Suburban Conference boys hockey standings (Through Jan. 25)
  Conf. Overall Points
Centennial 10-1-1 13-5-1 21
Elk River/Zimmerman 9-3-1 12-6-1 19
Blaine 9-2 14-4 18
Spring Lake Park 9-3 13-6 18
Maple Grove 7-4 8-11 14
Totino-Grace 6-5-2 7-10-2 14
Armstrong/Cooper 5-6-1 10-7-1 11
Champlin Park 4-8-1 5-13-1 9
Osseo 4-8-1 5-13-1 9
Anoka 4-6 8-8 8
Irondale/St. Anthony 3-8 6-12 6
Andover 2-9 4-14 4
Coon Rapids 2-11 4-15 4

 

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