MOORHEAD-With his next goal, Moorhead senior left winger Carter Randklev will be all alone in fifth place in Moorhead history for career goals. Brian Nelson, Matt Cullen, Ryan Kraft and Josh Arnold will be the only names above the University of North Dakota commit in the Moorhead record books.
"I've obviously kept my eye on that achievement," Randklev said after scoring his 65th career goal in a 4-1 win for Moorhead over Rogers on Saturday. "It's an honor to be up there, but I focus on my team and our success a little bit more. I don't really get too carried away with my individual success as much as my team."
Moorhead completely overpowered Rogers in the first period. The Spuds put 16 shots on goal in the first eight minutes of the game, but Rogers goalie Nathaniel Johnston stopped all 16.
Rogers, on the other hand, found the back of the net on its first shot of the night off the stick of Trey Frederickson barely four minutes into the game.
"We were putting pucks on net, we were doing most of the things right, but we just didn't have a lot of intensity on the puck," Randklev said. "We were shooting into his glove a lot. We weren't really putting pucks on net where we exactly wanted to, but we found a way to pull it out and get the win."
Spuds answered late, as Randklev forced a turnover, made two guys miss and fed Kyler Kleven in the slot. Johnston had no chance with his eyes completely on Randklev. Kleven tapped it in and the game was tied with 61 seconds left in the first.
"It's another game," Moorhead coach Jon Ammerman said. "Every game you try to learn something new about the team. I think tonight we realized that we need to be ready to go every game. I was really impressed with how hard Rogers worked."
Moorhead may as well been on a power play the entire second period. The Spuds only left the offensive zone to chase iced pucks by Rogers, outshooting the Royals 20-0 in the period. Despite dominating, the Spuds only escaped with a 2-1 lead behind a top-shelf blast from Randklev off a Jack Stetz feed from behind the net midway through the period.
"They did an outstanding job playing defense, and their goaltender did a very good job," Ammerman said. "We were working hard. We did a nice job of winning races. Once we got the puck there was a lot of standing and watching one player. When we're successful is when we're moving and when we're bringing the puck to the net."
Spuds (15-6) got movement and a cushion less than three minutes into the third when Isaac Henkemeyer-Howe found Ryan Stafford in the left circle. Stafford didn't get everything on a shot attempt, but it trickled to the stick of Cole O'Connell, who punched it home for a power-play goal and a two-score cushion. O'Connell struck again off a turnover less than three minutes later to push the lead to 4-1.
"We're working hard," O'Connell said. "It's getting close to section (tournament) time, so we're starting to play hard now."
Rogers (6-15) biggest opportunity in the final two periods came when Moorhead had back-to-back penalties, giving the Royals a two-man advantage for 54 seconds in the third. The Royals could only muster three shots on the power play, all of which were swallowed by Moorhead goalie Lance Leonard. That all but sealed Moorhead's fifth straight win.
"We're just working hard," Randklev said. "We're doing what we're supposed to in important areas on the rink. We're getting pucks deep, and just everything we've been taught to do. We've been setting goals each game and we've been trying to hit those."
FIRST PERIOD: 1, R, Frederickson (Streeter), 4:01. 2, M, Kleven (Randklev), 15:59.
SECOND PERIOD: 3, M, Randklev (Stetz, Frisch), 9:36.
THIRD PERIOD: 4, M, O'Connell (Stafford, Henkemeyer-Howe), 2:45, (pp). 5, M, O'Connell (Dronen), 5:14.
SAVES: R, Johnston 19-19-12-50. M, Leonard 3-0-7-10.