By Nick Gerhardt
Northfield showed no rust Saturday in its first game in more than two weeks in a 4-1 win over Mankato West at Northfield Ice Arena.
The Class A No. 8-ranked Raiders (9-1-2, 5-0 Big 9) ran their unbeaten streak to nine games after getting a pair of second-period goals from senior center Jake Geiger and goals from senior wingers Kam Kaiser and Cayden Monson. Geiger recorded multiple points for the fourth straight game and scored twice in the previous game against Mankato East in a 4-1 win.
“He’s been a rock star all year long,” Northfield head coach Mike Luckraft said. “…Really I thought the goal that was the backbreaker was the one coming around from the back of the net really made a difference. It gave us a little bit of breathing room for the last period and a half. He’s dynamic.”
The Raiders trailed 1-0 early against the Scarlets (4-8-1, 2-3-1 Big 9) after sophomore forward Brayden Keech tipped in a puck for the first shot of the game for Mankato West just 2 minutes, 58 seconds into the game.
Monson responded at 4:11 of the period to tie the game with assists from junior forward Will Cashin and senior defenseman Ty Frank. Frank had two assists in just his second game of the season after missing time due to injury.
“We’ve battled through with a kind of a younger D corp,” Luckraft said. “He gets in front of guys and it was great to have him back. He’s got a great shot and he understands how to play.”
The defensive group has included three sophomores and a freshman and Frank’s return has helped bolster the blue line. Northfield limited the Scarlets to 12 shots in the game and killed off a 5-minute power play after a checking-from-behind major penalty.
Kaiser gave the Raiders a 2-1 lead at 12:05 of the first period after he and senior forward Andrew Winter redirected a Frank shot from near the blue line.
Geiger scored his first goal 38 seconds into the second period after he collected a rebound in front of the net off a Kaiser shot. Freshman defenseman Ben Geiger also assisted on the goal to go up 3-1.
At 11:30 of the second period Geiger scored again to make it 4-1. He had a chance at a hat trick in the third period on a penalty shot but Mankato West goalie Mason Schreiber made the save.
Northfield finished with 47 shots on goal and junior goalie Max Frank stopped 11 shots to pick up the win.
The Raiders get another extended break and will face Owatonna at 7:15 p.m. Saturday at Northfield Ice Arena.