Boys hockey: Northfield returns to section title game with rout

By Nick Gerhardt

Northfield’s returning to the Section 1A championship game after it stormed past Albert Lea 8-0 Saturday in the section semifinals at the Rochester Rec Center. 

The top-seeded and No. 8-ranked Raiders (21-4-2) put together a better start than their quarterfinal game Thursday against eighth-seeded Faribault but had nothing to show on the scoreboard after outshooting the fourth-seeded Tigers 14-1. 

Much like the previous game, Northfield started scoring in bunches in the second period. Seniors Jake Geiger, Cayden Monson and Kam Kaiser each notched goals in the final 3 minutes, 28 seconds of the period. Geiger started the scoring at the 13:32 mark with an assist from Kaiser. Geiger then dished out an assist to Monson on his goal at 15:11 to make it 2-0. Then Monson and freshman defenseman Ben Geiger assisted on Kaiser’s goal that came with 49 seconds left in the period for a 3-0 advantage.

Sophomore forward Michael Steward started the scoring in the period with an assist from junior forward Will Cashin. Monson and sophomore Christian Whiteman scored nearly a minute apart in the third period to push the lead to 5-0. Monson scored at 7:06 with senior defenseman Sam Boardman and sophomore defenseman Ashton Pumper assisted on the goal. Sophomore forward Oliver Benjamin assisted on Whiteman’s goal. 

Albert Lea (14-12-1), which defeated Rochester Lourdes 3-2 in double overtime Thursday, got a goal back when Jacob Kolker scored at 8:56 of the third period to make it 5-1.

The Raiders went on to score the final three goals of the game for another running-time playoff victory. Andrew Winter scored seven seconds after Kolker’s goal to make it 6-1 on an unassisted goal. Griffin Kennelly scored on the power play at 12:30 with assists from Winter and Steward.

Northfield outshot the Tigers 36-14 and went 1-for-3 on the power play. Junior goalie Max Frank stopped 13 of the 14 shots he faced. Albert Lea went 0-for-1 on the power play. 

The Raiders will face Dodge County Wednesday at the Rochester Rec Center at 7 p.m. for a trip to the Class A state tournament. The Wildcats defeated La Crescent-Hokah 4-3 in the other semifinal Saturday.