By PATRICK SLACK
The Little Falls boys hockey team trailed Duluth Marshall 2-0 after the first period of Thursday’s state consolation semifinal at the University of Minnesota’s Mariucci Arena.
After suffering a 7-0 loss in Wednesday’s quarterfinal to St. Thomas Academy, the Flyers were just looking for their first goal of the state tournament.
That changed in the opening minutes of the second period, as the Flyers bombarded the Hilltoppers with three goals in a 71-second span en route to a 5-4 triumph in a back-and-forth game.
Senior Joey Hanowski put Little Falls on the board 4:18 into the second period, then tied the score just 18 seconds later.
Sophomore Mark Anez joined in the scoring action at the 5:29 mark, giving Little Falls its first lead at 3-2 before Duluth Marshall recovered to tie the score five minutes later.
Junior Ben Newman put the Flyers back in front two minutes later, sliding the puck past the Duluth Marshall goaltender on a close play as the net was coming loose, giving Little Falls a 4-3 edge after two periods of action.
The Hilltoppers refused to give in early in the third period, once again evening the score at the 5:52 mark.
But Newman once again deliverd a tie-breaking score with just 4:18 to play, burying the puck and the Hilltoppers with the game-winning score.
Hanowski, Newman, senior Michael Holthaus and juniors August Maciej, Spencer Fenske, Austin Bjorge and Luke Majerle recorded assists for Little Falls.
Junior goaltender Mike Stumpf turned in a 24-save performance to pick up the win.
The consolation championship will be held Saturday at 10 a.m. at Mariucci Arena against Rochester Lourdes.
Little Falls 5, Duluth Marshall 4
Duluth Marshall 2 1 1 – 4
Little Falls 0 4 1 – 5
DM: Flaherty, 3:26
DM: Peterson, 11:28 (pp)
LF: Joey Hanowski (Maciej), 4:18
LF: Hanowski (Fenske, Newman), 4:36
LF: Mark Anez (Holthaus, Bjorge), 5:29
DM: Peterson, 10:23
LF: Ben Newman (Hanowski), 12:36
DM: Peterson, 5:52
LF: Newman (Majerle), 12:42
Saves: DM: 14; LF-Mike Stumpf: 24.