By Nick Gernhardt
Northfield began its march toward a second consecutive conference title in earnest Tuesday with a 4-1 win over rival Owatonna at Northfield Ice Arena.
The Class A No. 5-ranked Raiders (10-2, 4-0 Big 9) got two goals from junior center Jake Geiger and goals from junior wingers Kam Kaiser and Andrew Winter to extend their win streak to six games.
Northfield also leapfrogged over the Huskies (4-6, 3-2 Big 9) in the conference standings for third place with 12 points. Rochester Century (6-6, 5-0 Big 9) leads the Big 9 with 16 points and Rochester Mayo (9-2-1, 4-0 Big 9) has 14 points. The Raiders face both Rochester Century and Rochester Mayo twice this season, beginning with the Panthers Friday at Northfield Ice Arena and then the Spartans Monday in Rochester.
Kaiser lifted Northfield to a 1-0 lead just a minute into the game after he knocked a puck in midair with an assist from sophomore center Brayden Olsen. Kaiser’s stick stayed just below the crossbar to avoid having the goal waived off.
Winter made it a 2-0 game at 11:38 of the first period on a nice feed from Geiger as the Raiders closed out the period with a 13-5 shot on goal advantage.
Geiger helped put the game away with a pair of goals in the third period. His first goal came at 9:26 of the third period with assists from Kaiser and junior winger Cayden Monson. Geiger’s shot from the left circle found the net over the blocker side of Owatonna goalie Porter Kuchenbecker for a 3-0 lead.
Less than a minute later, at 9:55, Geiger tipped in a shot from junior defenseman Elliott Pontow from just about the same spot. Senior defenseman Parker Vogt also picked up an assist on the goal for a 4-0 lead.
Huskies senior forward Benjamin Bangs jumped on a Northfield turnover inside the Raiders zone to score the lone goal for Owatonna with 2:35 left to play to spoil a shutout bid for Northfield senior goaltender Keaton Walock.
Walock finished with 15 saves in the win for the Raiders and Northfield put 32 shots on goal against the Huskies.
The Raiders will host the Rochester Century Panthers Friday night at 7:30. The game will be streamed live on NorthfieldLive.com