February 17, 2007 @ Aldrich 3:00
Moorhead geared up for a playoff run with a dominating performance, scoring three early goals and going on to win 6-3. The Spuds got two goals apiece from Devin Nitzkorski and Jordy Christian, extended their unbeated streak to 16 games, and defeated Hill-Murray for the first time in three years.
Hill-Murray faced an uphill climb from the start, taking an early penalty and repeatedly failing to clear the zone, giving Moorhead ample opportunity to cycle for the first ten minutes. Joe Becker scored the first goal at even strength, blasting a centering pass past Joe Phillippi from 10 feet.
The Pioneers' first shot came when down a man for the second time. Nick Larson fought through a hold to get a short breakaway, but Spuds goalie Joe Duncan didn't give him anything to shoot at and made a pad save on Larson's stuff attempt.
Moorhead quickly countered with a brisk passing sequence and Nick Thielen scored a power play goal with a shot into the upper corner. Less than two minutes later, Nitzkorski scored his first off a goalmouth feed from Pat Deitz.
Coach Bill Lechner called time-out and thereafter the Moorhead attack met some resistance. Hill-Murray killed a 5-on-3 and got back in the game with two goals late in the period off some pinpoint passing. First, Dan Cecka raced up the left side and feathered a pass into the slot that Isaac Kohls blasted under Duncan from 20 feet. Then Ryan Furne's long pass found Tyler Zepeda a step behind the Moorhead defense and Zepeda scored on a breakaway to make it 3-2.
The second period was slightly less wide open, but both teams continued to get good scoring chances. Moorhead scored the only two goals of the period, both off turnovers, and took their second three goal lead of the game. Nitzkorski netted his second at 4:36 and seven minutes later, Christian worked a give-and-go with Sean Ambrosie, resulting in an easy tap in for Christian off the right post.
If the outcome was still in doubt entering the third period, Moorhead effectively put the game out of reach when Christian scored off another goalmouth feed on the power play for a 6-2 Spuds lead. Hill-Murray got one goal back as Larson controlled the puck behind the goal line and set up Furne for a one-timer. Those two almost teamed up again while shorthanded but Duncan made a pad save on Furne's backhand attempt.
Moorhead takes a 22-1-1 record into the Section 8AA playoffs; Hill-Murray finishes the regular season at 20-4-1.
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