Packers remain undefeated

Published 12:00 am Friday, January 19, 2001

Despite a 7-2 victory Thursday night over visiting Mankato West, the Austin High School boys hockey team spent more time than normal in the locker room after the game.

Friday, January 19, 2001

Despite a 7-2 victory Thursday night over visiting Mankato West, the Austin High School boys hockey team spent more time than normal in the locker room after the game.

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Coach Denny Laumeyer wanted to make certain that the Packers understood a few basics.

"We’ve got a pretty good streak," Laumeyer said about AHS’ 9-0 Big Nine Conference record and 11-2 mark overall. "We don’t want to take anything for granted. We want to make sure we’re still playing hungry."

The Packers’ coach was concerned that after a 4-0 first period advantage, AHS let the winless-in-conference Scarlets back in the game.

"We gave up two power play goals," Laumeyer said. "We gave them a chance to be in the game.

"We’ve been disciplined all year and we got away from that. Their goaltender made a couple of good saves and we let them take us out of our game.

"There’s no reason we should take six penalties. We were controlling the puck, controlling the flow."

In the first period, the Packers were very much in their game. Keeping a budding tradition of scoring in the first minute alive, Andy Klapperick got the honors Thursday when he scored :26 into the game. Paul Jacobsen and Brad Wiechmann assisted on the quick goal.

"We’ve done that a lot," Laumeyer said. "They’re prepared to play. These kids get ready. It’s worked out. We’ve been fortunate to get some goals early."

At 6:18 Brandon Schaefer fired from point blank range and apparently score but the referees ruled that the puck had not rolled over the line.

With about five minutes left in the first, it took all the AHS defense had with Mankato West firing a new line as well as the puck in a rush to the net.

The Packers rebounded quickly. Brent Cummings fired a slap shot from the right side at 11:08 that found its mark. With assists from Eric and Josh Hansen, AHS assumed a 2-0 lead.

The spot was a good one for the Packers. At 14:03 of the period, Jamie Knudtson took his turn and scored with assists from Asham Bell and David Lorenzen.

That third AHS goal appeared to deflate the Scarlets and it wasn’t long before the Packers took advantage of the situation. Only :45 later at 14:48, Nick Bowe dug the puck away from Mankato West goalie Derek Cramblit after two previous shots on goal and poked it past the netminder. Josh Hansen and Schaefer assisted on the goal. The Packers led 4-0 after one period.

"Those were two big goals," Laumeyer said. "Any time you score the last minute of the period, it carries over unto the next period."

Bell made a critical defensive play one minute into the second period when he poked the puck away from a Mankato winger on a breakaway. Two minutes later, the Packers were putting another number on the scoreboard.

As the result of constant offensive pressure, Eric Hanson got an assist from brother Josh and Lorenzen to score at 3:11 of the second.

At the 7:37 mark, Paul Jacobson rushed the net straight on and pushed the puck under Cramblit’s pads. Klapperick and Wiechmann recorded assists on the play.

With the period nearly over, the Scarlets scored at 14:44 when Ryan Casper scored on a power play from in front of the net as John Starke and Brandon Roberts assisted on the play.

AHS led 6-1 after two periods, but it was the complacency in parts of the second and the third period that worried Laumeyer.

The Packers’ goalie Mark Jacobsen made a diving, sliding save on a two-man breakaway early in the third period at the :53 mark.

"He’s been pretty solid," Laumeyer said. "Jake has not seen a lot of shots. He makes the saves when we need him. He makes a few big saves every game."

AHS came back on a power play but could not knock in a goal. Later in the period, after the Packers were down a man, the Scarlets rushed the net and Jacobsen foiled three shots on goal.

Maybe using the defense as momentum, AHS charged to the Mankato end and Bell made an acrobatic goal – falling to the ice and lunging with his stick fully extended to somehow poke the puck past Cramblit. With an assist from Lorenzen, the Packers led 7-1 at the 11:30 mark.

Just 17 seconds later Mankato West’s Roberts came down for a power play goal with an assist from Danny Umhoefer for the final score of 7-2.

AHS outshot the Scarlets 48-13, making a sensational 21-2 start in the first but barely keeping ahead on shots, 10-8, in the third.

The Packers travel to Rochester Mayo for a showdown with the other top team in the conference.

"They’re the best team I’ve seen," said Mankato West coach Ken Essay, speaking of AHS, and the Scarlets had played Mayo.

"I don’t know what to say about that," Laumeyer said. "I’m sure there was some talk of Mayo. After the game, we’re still going to have another game. That one game isn’t going to determine our season no matter what the outcome."