Boys Hockey | Century 5, Albert Lea 1
Rochester Century went into one of the toughest buildings in the Big Nine Conference and took control of the game in the opening minutes.
The Panthers built a three-goal lead in the first period en route to a 5-1 boys hockey victory against Albert Lea at the Albert Lea City Arena.
Junior forward Dalton Travis had a hat trick, while Blake Heroff and Tyler Iverson each had a goal and assist for the Panthers, who continue to control their own destiny in the chase for a conference championship.
"It's a tough place to play," Century coach Josh Klingfus said of Albert Lea's arena. "We didn't have a lot of offensive zone time in the first period, but we took advantage of the opportunities we had and continued to get better as the game went on."
Travis' hat trick is his third of the season and he leads Century with 14 goals.
If Century wins its final three Big Nine games, it will win the conference title. It could come down to the Panthers' final conference game of the season, Feb. 14 against rival Rochester Mayo at the Rochester Recreation Center.
Century outshot Albert Lea, 30-20, including 14-3 in the third period. Erik Wennberg made 19 saves to help the Panthers improve to 10-2-1 in the Big Nine and 14-5-2 overall. Century has 21 points in the conference standings, behind Mayo (24 points) and Owatonna (23 points).
The Panthers play at Austin on Thursday and at Mankato East on Saturday, with four points up for grabs in each of those games. Austin and East sit at the bottom of the standings with one conference victory each.
Albert Lea dropped its sixth consecutive game to fall to 7-7-0 in the conference and 9-12-1 overall. According to the Albert Lea Tribune, this is the first time in head coach Roy Nystrom's 39 years that the Tigers have lost six consecutive games.
Century 5, Albert Lea 1
Century: Dalton Travis 3 goals; Blake Heroff 1 goal, 1 assist; Tyler Iverson 1 goal, 1 assist; Hayden Ashworth 2 assists; Nick Jacobs 2 assists; Matthew Sturchio 1 assist; Isaac St. Marie 1 assist; Brandon Kautz 1 assist; Erik Wennberg 19 saves.
Albert Lea: Griffin Wangen 25 saves.