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West crushes Trojans' hopes in semifinals
For two periods on Saturday, Feb. 23, the New Prague Trojan boys hockey team outskated, outshot and outhustled Mankato West, but to no avail as the teams were scoreless going into the third period of their semifinal game at the Rochester Rec Center.
Things changed, and not in a good way for the Trojans, in the third period. New Prague was called for five penalties in the first 10 minutes of the period, resulting in two separate 5-on-3 power plays for West. The Scarlets scored three goals with a man advantage and added another even-strength goal to take a 4-0 lead and they survived a Trojan comeback attempt in taking a 4-2 semifinal win.
Cody Meyer had both Trojan goals. The senior scored a shorthanded goal on assists form Ben Witt and Austin Isaacson at 11:40 of the period, and added a power play goal in the game’s final minute, on an assist from Witt.
The Trojans end the season with a 16-9-2 record. West was scheduled to face Rochester Lourdes at 7 p.m. Wednesday, Feb. 27, for the Section 1A championship at the Rochester Rec Center.
New Prague came out firing, outshooting the Scarlets 15-3 in the first period. West did not get its first shot on goal until there was 3:40 remaining in the period, and New Prague put constant pressure on the West goal. However Scarlet goaltender Jake Spiess made a number of nice saves to keep the Trojans off the board.
The Trojans kept firing away in the second and thought they had scored in the first minute of the period, but the referees and goal judges ruled the puck did not cross the line. New Prague outshot the Scarlets 12-9 in the period, and 27-12 through two periods.
New Prague took its first penalty just one minute into the third period, and West started attacking the Trojan goal. New Prague killed off that penalty, but 30 seconds later another Trojan was sent to the box, and another just 17 seconds later, giving the Scarlets a two-man advantage. They scored two goals during the extended power play.
West scored again at 7:34, then New Prague took another pair of penalties at the midway point of the third. They scored a power play goal to make it 4-0. Meyer scored a little more than a minute later and again in the final minute.
New Prague outshot the Scarlets 37-31, with Evan Bisek making 27 saves.
Trojans 3, Falcons 1 New Prague opened the section playoffs Thursday, Feb. 21, with a 3-1 quarterfinal win over Faribault.
The Falcons scored the game’s first goal, in the final minute of the first period and carried that lead well into the second before the Trojans erupted for three goals in a three-minute span. Alex Gregor scored at 13:30, assisted by Witt and Jack Pexa. One minute later it was Austin Kilian scoring from Ryan Drazan and Meyer. Gregor got the third goal, with assists from Jake Klein and Pexa.
That would close out the scoring for both teams. New Prague outshot Faribault 34- 17, with Bisek making 33 saves.
The Trojans graduate six seniors - Evan Bisek, Cody Meyer, Connor O’Rourke, Jack Pexa, Nick Sampson and Kain Wagner. This year’s team won the firstever Missota Conference championship in the program’s 34-year history. Four of the team’s top five scorers return next season and that gives the Trojans a good shot at repeating.