BLAINE, MN The Brookings Blizzard played a complete game on Thursday afternoon and as a result of their hard work, they came away with their first win of the 2018-19 season.
The Blizzard defeated the Wilkes-Barre/Scranton Knights, 4-2, in the second game of the North American Hockey League Showcase on Thursday afternoon in Blaine, MN.
On Wednesday against Amarillo, the Blizzard came out flat and allowed two goals in the first three minutes of the contest in an eventual loss, 5-4.
Thursday afternoon was a totally different story.
The Blizzard came out and played smash-mouth hockey, getting into the dirty areas, winning face-off’s and executing their breakouts.
The scoring got started in the first period, when Colorado College commit Sam Antenucci scored his second goal in 24 hours as he gave the Blizzard a 1-0 lead.
“A lot of their guys (Knights) went for a change,” said Antenucci on his goal. “I also saw Meininger had full control, so I just stretched the ice and he saw me going up high. I didn’t know where the shot was at first, but it popped out behind the goalie and it was an easy tap in.”
“Sam means so much to our team,” said defensemen Brendan Aird. “He’s such a speedy guy, he makes a lot happen and disrupts a lot of plays. So he’s definitely a big part of this team.”
Lakeville, MN native, Brock Draeger, added a late first period goal to give the Blizzard a 2-0 lead and all the momentum heading into the second period.
The Knights responded by putting up two goals of their own in the second period, both by forward Sacha Guillemain. Just as the period was winding down, Gabe Wahl won the face-off in the Blizzard’ offensive zone and the puck landed on the stick of Kendrick Frost. His slap-shot slid past Knights goaltender Samuel Vyletelka, to give the Blizzard a one goal lead.
As the game was winding down in the third period, Luke Aquaro, who had numerous changes throughout the game, finally cashed in and scored his first goal in a Blizzard uniform to put the game out of reach.
“When the puck squirted lose, I knew the door was open,” said Aquaro. “It was such a great feeling to put it in and got it off early.”
Aquaro and Antenucci had been playing on the same line for a while in Training Camp. Today, Haiden Karnick was the other winger and it was evident early on that there was some chemistry between the three forwards.
They (Aquaro, Antenucci and Karnick) combined for five points on the afternoon.
“Haiden is a power forward for us and it was different playing with him,” said Aquaro. “But that complimented Sam and I perfectly so I would really like to move forward playing with him, it would be awesome.”
“I felt a lot of chemistry,” added Antenucci. “He’s another big body that helps down in the corner battles to help Luke and I out because we aren’t the biggest. As long as we are moving our feet, it throws defenses off guard we were able to capitalize on opportunities.”
Jack Caruso got the start for the Blizzard and stopped 15 pucks on 17 Wilkes Barre/Scranton shots.
“Jack played really well tonight,” said Aird. “We had to pick up a lot of sticks in front and he did the rest from there. He’s a great goaltender for us.”
The Blizzard are back in action for day three of the NAHL Showcase tomorrow afternoon when they take on the Maryland Black Bears. Puck drop is set for 4:00 PM (CST) and the game will be televised on Hockey TV.