Boys hockey: Power play powers Northfield past Mankato East

By Nick Gerhardt

Northfield’s potent power play continued its torrid streak Tuesday in a 7-0 win over Mankato East at Northfield Ice Arena. 

The Class A No. 6-ranked Raiders (13-1-2, 9-0 Big 9) scored four times on the power play, including twice during a 5-minute power play in the second period to extend their unbeaten streak to 13 games. Northfield went 3-for-4 on the power play Saturday in a 7-1 win over Red Wing and entered Tuesday’s game with a 34.4% success rate on the man advantage.

“I just think in general the puck’s moving a little better,” Northfield head coach Mike Luckraft said. “We changed things up a few weeks ago. It seems to have freed up guys to make plays.”

Senior winger Kam Kaiser scored four times, including a natural hat trick to jumpstart Northfield. His first two goals came on the power play in the first period and he notched his third goal 58 seconds into the second period. Kaiser capped his scoring at the 14-minute mark of the third period to give him a team-high 23 goals on the season.

“Get him in the right position and he can really bury it,” Luckraft said.

Freshman defenseman Ben Geiger registered his first career varsity goal with a shot from the point at 1:33 of the second period for a 4-0 lead. Geiger had 13 assists on the season entering the game.

“Benny’s a tremendous player and as a freshman he has a great understanding of body position, when to make plays,” Luckraft said. “He’s going to score a ton of goals. It’s almost shocking that that is his first goal because he creates so much offense.”

Senior winger Cayden Monson scored at 6:35 of the second period for a 5-0 advantage and senior center Jake Geiger added a power play goal 30 seconds later to build a 6-0 lead. 

Senior defenseman Ty Frank picked up two assists in the game and eclipsed the all-time points record for defensemen with his second assist. Frank broke the previous record set by Mike Fossum last season and now has 67 career points. 

The power play success comes at a good time for the Raiders, who will face third-ranked St. Cloud Cathedral (14-4-1) Friday at 7 p.m. at the Bloomington Ice Garden. The two teams met each other last season in the Class A state tournament consolation semifinals where the Crusaders came away with a 3-1 victory.

“We’re going to have a real test Friday night with Cathedral,” Luckraft said. “They bring back every player from last year’s state tournament team so they’re going to be a real challenge. We’re excited about the opportunity.”

Postgame interview with Northfield head coach Mike Luckraft