By Nick Gerhardt
Not a lot went right for Northfield Thursday in a 6-4 loss to Rochester John Marshall at Northfield Ice Arena.
The Class A No. 6-ranked Raiders spotted the Rockets a 3-0 lead less than three minutes into the second period after turnovers and penalties multiplied quickly. Penalties continued to hinder Northfield (15-5, 9-3 Big 9) the rest of the game.
The Raiders eventually erased the deficit at 4:22 of the third period when Brayden Olsen notched his third goal of the game to put Northfield in front 4-3. The lead, however, lasted briefly.
Less than three minutes following the go-ahead goal, the Raiders took a five-minute boarding penalty and Rochester John Marshall (10-9-1, 4-5-1 Big 9) cashed in twice to pull ahead 5-4 with 7:46 remaining in the game. The Rockets, who lost the first meeting of the season 8-1, added an empty-net goal from Ole Fevold with 55 seconds to play for the 6-4 final.
The loss eliminates any margin for error for Northfield’s path to a repeat conference title. The Raiders trail conference leader Rochester Mayo by a point in the standings and need to win out to edge the Spartans by a point for the title. Northfield has games left against Owatonna and Rochester Century. The Raiders lost the first meeting against Rochester Century 3-2 in Northfield and defeated Owatonna 4-1 in Northfield.
The Raiders faced Rochester John Marshall Thursday without starting goaltender Keaton Walock, who missed the game due to illness. Sophomore Max Frank made his first career varsity start but gave way to junior goaltender Trey Shimota following the Rockets’ go-ahead goal.
Northfield outshot Rochester John Marshall 44-17 for the game and hit a handful of pipes during the game, but struggled to finish. Even in the final 1:30 of the game with Shimota pulled for an extra attacker, the Raiders didn’t get the extra attacker on the ice quickly.
Mason Decker put the Rockets up 1-0 just 1:41 into the game after he collected a loose puck near the post and shot into an open net. Rochester John Marshall took a 1-0 lead into the second period despite getting outshot 16-4.
The second period saw the Rockets extend the lead to 2-0 after Jayden Veney fired a shot from around the right circle dot on the power-play just 1:41 into the period.
The lead swelled to 3-0 after Brock Clarey collected a turnover in the slot for a goal at 2:57 of the period. Rochester John Marshall had seven shots in the period while Northfield held a 33-11 shot advantage after two periods.
The line of Olsen, Will Cashin and Cayden Monson helped get the Raiders back in the game. Olsen scored his first goal at 10:43 of the second period on a rebound with assists from Cashin and defenseman Ty Frank. Olsen added his second goal, this time an unassisted one, with 1:08 left in the second period to make it 3-2 and give Northfield some momentum heading into the final period.
Monson scored the game-tying goal at 1:57 of the third period with assist from Cashin and Olsen. Olsen got his hat trick at 4:22 with assists from Kam Kaiser and defenseman Mike Fossum to give the Raiders a 4-3 lead.
Decker scored his second goal of the game with assists from Fevold and Cody Alhstrom during the five-minute power play at 8:55 to tie the game. Then Damon Miller scored at 9:14 with assists from Aaron Terpstra and Adam Hegrenes to give the Rockets a 5-4 lead with another power-play goal.
The Raiders will try to right things Saturday in Owatonna at 7 p.m. against the Huskies, who beat Rochester Century 4-1 and tied Rochester Mayo 2-2 in their last two conference games.