MANKATO — Rochester Lourdes and its goalie Sam Decker put together their best performances of the season and pushed Section 1A title contender Mankato West deep into the third period on Monday before falling 4-1 in a boys hockey game.
"West has a nice team; I was extremely proud of our boys," Lourdes coach Joe Knoepke said. "They had the best combo we've seen this season of positional and system discipline, accompanied with effort."
The score was tied 1-1 after two periods, thanks to second-period goals by Lourdes' Jack Kleinschmidt and West's Jack Wittenberg.
Kleinschmidt scored short-handed at the 10:08 mark to put the Eagles (0-16-0 overall) up 1-0. But Wittenberg answered for West on the same power-play opportunity, tying the score just 49 seconds later.
That's how the score remained until the final six minutes of the game.
Wittenberg scored his second of the night at the 11:27 mark, then capped his hat trick just 36 seconds later for a 3-1 Scarlets lead. Gavin Brunmeier added an insurance goal for West (9-7-0) with 2:37 remaining.
The loss overshadowed a great performance by Decker, who stopped 49 of the 53 shots he faced to keep Lourdes in the game.
"Sam played absolutely incredible," Knoepke said, "and had his best game of the year. It really helped energize our bench.
"The shots were a bit lopsided but our players did a great job with their positioning to allow Decker to see them and make the save."
Lourdes plays at Bloomington Kennedy at 7 p.m. Tuesday.
WEST 4, LOURDES 1
Lourdes 0 1 0 — 1
Mankato West 0 1 3 — 4
Lourdes: Jack Kleinschmidt 1 goal; Van Albrecht 1 assist. Goalie: Sam Decker 49 saves (53 shots).
Mankato West: Gavin Brunmeier 1 goal; Hunter Meixner 1 assist; Jack Wittenberg 3 goals; Nate Looft 1 assist; Brandon Swenson 1 assist; Blake Waletich 1 assist; Nicholas Lundberg 1 assist. Goalie: Caleb Cross 9 saves (10 shots).