Ice Hawks set franchise record of goals
By Ben Pherson
Post-Bulletin, Rochester MN
While glancing at the scoresheet after Saturday’s game against the St. Paul Lakers, the question for Minnesota Ice Hawks coach Nick Fatis wasn’t who scored but rather who didn’t score.
The Ice Hawks broke a franchise record for goals scored in a game during their 20-5 victory over the Lakers in front of 1,234 fans at the Rochester Recreation Center.
The Ice Hawks dressed 18 forwards and defensemen for the game against the Lakers. And of those 18 players, 16 had at least one point and 15 had more than one point.
It was a far cry from the lackluster performance the Ice Hawks put forth Friday night in a 2-1 loss to the Twin Cities Northern Lights.
Fatis felt the difference was as simple as one word — intensity.
"The intensity was just way different," Fatis said. "I don’t think it would have mattered who we played tonight; if we play with intensity like that, we can beat anyone. I think Friday night, the guys just kind of went through the motions. They learned in a hurry they can’t do that in this league."
Another factor in the Ice Hawks’ turnaround has been the maturation of several first-year players. Two new players who appear to be "getting it" according to Fatis are Owatonna native Korby Anderson and Rochester John Marshall graduate Adam Wiesner.
Anderson led all scorers Saturday with six points, including two goals and four assists. Wiesner finished with three goals and an assist.
"Wiesner is a kid who really wants to play Division I hockey, and he’s told me he’ll do whatever it takes to get there," Fatis said. "He’s so talented. And Korby Anderson is another talented kid. I think some people passed on him because of his size, but he just really fits in with this team and what we like to do."
Wiesner said his transition has been simple, in part because of the coaching staff’s willingness to listen to players
"I’ve been other places, and coaches are kind of intimidating to talk to," Wiesner said. "Here, the coaches welcome it. They’re really open, and that makes it easy to learn. Plus, everyone here gets along; the personalities all seem to fit together."
Anderson admits his first few weeks with the Ice Hawks weren’t easy. But he, too, feels like he’s "getting it" now.
"It was a lot of new stuff learning all the systems; it was a little overwhelming at first," Anderson said. "But really, after that first week, it’s gotten easier. I’m feeling more comfortable now."
If there was a weak spot for the Ice Hawks on Saturday, it was the team’s inability to kill off penalties. The Lakers scored five goals and all came with the man advantage.
"It’s odd because on Friday night, we were phenomenal on the penalty kill," Fatis said. "Five-on-five, we were great. I just think right now the penalty kill is where we’re seeing that lack of experience from our new guys."
Rochester’s Jay Gorman and Elk River native Cory Volk had five points apiece, both scoring two goals and adding three assists.
Four players had four points — Dirk Foss (four assists), Shaun Walters (goal, three assists), Jason Rein (two goals, two assists) and Justin Phelps (three assists, goal).
Issei Kashima (two goals, assist), Bryce Stevens (goal, two assists), Danny Grady (two goals, assist) and Ian McKenna (two assists, goal) had three points apiece.
"Everyone was just a little more focused," Anderson said.
Sam Hingtgen made his first start in goal for the Ice Hawks. He recorded eight saves on nine shots. Tim Kuykendall also saw time in net, making six saves on 10 shots.
The Ice Hawks outshot the Lakers 70-19, including 30-5 in the third period.
Dodge Center native Mark Huber was a bright spot for the Lakers. He scored a power-play goal in the first period.
The Ice Hawks (2-2) are back in action at 7:05 p.m. Saturday at home against the Wisconsin Mustangs.