By PATRICK SLACK
Top-seeded Little Falls took the first step in its quest to repeat as Section 6A champion, Tuesday, defeating eighth-seeded Morris-Benson Area 5-1 at home in the quarterfinals.
Senior Luke Majerle gave the Flyers an early boost, striking 2:14 into the game on a delayed penalty.
Majerle found the back of the net again 3:21 into the second to give Little Falls a 2-0 edge, but Morris-Benson Area answered just 31 seconds later to close back within one.
That would prove to be the only goal Little Falls would allow, however, while seniors Nathan Adamietz, Austin Bjorge and Ben Newman each tallied goals for the Flyers to put the game safely out of reach.
Majerle also picked up a pair of assists to finish with a four-point night and Newman had two assists to record three points.
Senior Michael Stumpf registered 18 saves to earn the win in net.
Five-goal third lifts Flyers to regular-season ending win
Detroit Lakes controlled the first two periods against visiting Little Falls, Feb. 14, scoring just 14 seconds into the game as it took a 3-2 lead into the third.
But the Flyers erupted for five goals in the final period, including four in the opening 7:19, to emerge on top 7-4 and close the regular season with a win.
Following the Lakers’ game-opening goal, junior Mark Anez got the Flyers on the board to tie the score.
Detroit Lakes regained the lead on a power-play goal with 31 seconds left in the first period until senior Auggie Maciej once again evened the ledger midway through the second.
For a third time, Detroit Lakes took the lead late in the second, but would not get it back after consecutive goals by senior Matt Stumpf, Newman, Anez and Newman for a second time to open the third period.
Detroit Lakes converted a power-play to close back within 6-4 with 8:14 to play, but couldn’t score again, while Majerle added an empty-net score in the closing seconds.
The Flyers are scheduled to play against fifth-seeded Alexandria in the Section 6A semifinals, Feb. 23.
With a win, Little Falls would advance to Thursday’s Section 6A championship in St. Cloud.