Tigers surge past Storm

MARSHALL – The Marshall boys’ hockey team knew it had its work cut out for it on Thursday night.

The Morris/Benson Area team entered the game with the top goal-scorer in the state, Tanner Picht, who is also second in overall points. Not to mention two players close behind.

But the Tigers knew what they wanted to do.

“They have Tanner leading the state in goals, so we knew what we were up against,” said Marshall head coach Dave Coudert. “We wanted to put our top line against their top line and see if they were able to keep producing.”

The Marshall top line was able to hold the Storm to two goals and Picht to one point, taking the 5-2 Southwest Conference win in Marshall.

“Our top line was able to contain them, which set our second and third lines free to generate some offense,” Coudert said. “We were happy with the way that first line pinned them down and made them work.”

In the first period, the Tigers (8-7-1 overall, 6-2 SWC) struck first when Corey Clark was able to put back an Adam McVey rebound at the nine minute, 47 second mark to put Marshall up 1-0.

” It was a nice shot by McVey right in the slot,” Clark said. “And I tipped it in through the five hole.”

After holding the Storm (8-7, 3-3) to just three first-period shots, Marshall was looking to continue the trend in the second period.

“That first goal is what either team needs, and luckily we were on the good end of that and built some momentum,” Coudert said. “It was very important to get that first goal.”

Marshall went up 2-0 early in the second when Quinn Horvath scored at 5:27, with assists from Leo Zerr and Beau Mikel. But Morris/Benson Area would respond 22 seconds later with a Mac Beyer goal at 5:49.

Both teams were quiet until there were just over four minutes left in the period when Casper Larsen brought the puck up the ice and went top shelf for a big slap shot goal.

“It kind of kick-started us there. He carried the puck up and got a nice shot,” Coudert said. “It really got our team going to see our rookie defenseman with the confidence to skate it up and get a top shelf goal like that. “

Just over two minutes later the Tigers got another rebound goal when Beau Mikel put his own shot back in, giving Marshall a 4-1 lead.

“I took that shot right away. I shouldn’t have, I should have carried it,” Mikel said. “But I got lucky and the puck bounced right back to me and I had the wide-open net on the right side and put it in.”

The Tigers went into the locker room carrying a solid lead into the third period.

“Our first line has kind of been in a slump and they got a hard-working goal with Beau in front of the net, kept digging at it and it finally popped and they got it open,” Coudert said. “We were able to get a couple goals in. They were hard-working goals and that’s what we want from them.”

In the third period the Storm capitalized on a Marshall penalty when Andrew Rentz found the net, cutting the lead to two at 1:27.

But Clark gave the Tigers a three-goal lead again at 5:55, which held for the win.

“Coach is always on us that whenever we dump it like that we have a hard fore-check,” Clark said. “I was able to beat the guy to the puck, threw it at the net and scored.”

The Tigers will play host to Redwood Valley and Fairmont next week before traveling to Benson the following week for a rematch with the Morris/Benson Area.

“We want to keep working like this,” said Coudert. “Every game counts and we want to keep going and make sure we outwork every team.”