Warroad beats rival Roseau in showdown of top-five teams
The Warriors and Rams entered the night with a combined 22-1 record.
The Warroad boys hockey team is ranked No. 2 in Minnesota Class A.
The Warriors proved Tuesday night they're among the state's best — regardless of class.
Warroad beat rival Roseau, Class AA's No. 4-ranked team, 5-0 in a packed Roseau Memorial Arena.
Murray Marvin-Cordes scored a pair of third-period goals, while Ryan Lund, Matt Hard and Daimon Gardner each scored once.
Warroad improved to 12-0 with the win.
"I had a feeling going in if we played well defensively and limited Roseau — they have a lot of firepower — I thought that would be key," Warroad coach Jay Hardwick said. "I knew we would get our chances with the guys we have and that we could score some goals. I thought we were very good defensively tonight."
Roseau dropped to 11-2, ending a 10-game winning streak going back to a 4-3 loss to Class AA No. 3 Andover on Nov. 27.
The Warriors have allowed just one goal in the last five games and managed to keep Roseau star Max Strand off the scoresheet for the first time this season. Strand entered the game with 44 points in 12 games, including a state-leading 23 goals.
But Warroad junior goaltender Hampton Slukynsky stopped all 28 Rams shots — his second-highest save total of the season — to help the Warriors get the win.
"(Strand) is a very good hockey player," Hardwick said. "He had his chances. I thought we took his space away fairly well. We tried to keep him to the outside a little bit. He didn't get any real clean looks alone with the goaltender. And when he had his chances, Skukynsky was there to make the save."
The game had all of the flair of a rivalry.
The stands started filling up during the junior varsity game.
They even brought three Division-I referees to call it — Nathan Voll of the Central Collegiate Hockey Association, Bobby Lukkason of the National Collegiate Hockey Conference and Brady Johnson of the NCHC.
"It was a packed house," Hardwick said. "I hadn't seen a crowd like that in a while. It's usually pretty full for Roseau-Warroad games, but by the third period of the JV game, it was pretty full. There weren't many seats left by the time we started."
The game was scoreless after one period, but the momentum swung in the second.
Roseau had a big opportunity with a five-minute major power play in the second, but came out of it trailing thanks to a shorthanded goal by Lund.
"I thought it kind of swung the momentum," Hardwick said. "I thought we were gaining momentum by the way we were killing the penalty."
Hard tacked on the second goal in the second period, then the Warriors blew the game open in the third.
Warroad now plays road games at No. 7 Fergus Falls, Detroit Lakes and Crookston before traveling to No. 1 Hermantown on Jan. 15.
The Rams host Blake and Brainerd the next two Saturdays.