Thursday's Boys Hockey: Leimbek's natural hat trick sparks Mayo past East
A scoreboard of Thursday's boys hockey games.
Rochester Mayo was determined to not take another tie against another top team in the Big Nine Conference.
The Spartans entered Thursday’s boys hockey game at Graham Arena with three ties in their previous four games, including two against conference rivals.
After one period Thursday, Mayo was in that familiar spot — tied 2-2 against Mankato East.
But the Spartans buckled down after that and used a 29-save performance from Tate Cothern and a natural hat trick by junior forward Mason Leimbek to beat East 5-2.
Mayo (8-2-3 overall) is unbeaten in its past seven games (4-0-3) and is 3-0-2 in conference play.
East dropped to 10-5-0 overall and 5-2-0 in the Big Nine.
Cohen Ruskell got Mayo on the board 5:31 into the game, but East answered with a pair of Christian Theuninck goals to take its only lead of the game, 2-1, at the 9:45 mark of the first period.
Then Leimbek took over.
The standout two-way centerman scored 38 seconds after Theuninck to tie the score 2-2 after one period. He then scored at 13:55 into the second period to give Mayo the lead for good. Leimbek then capped his natural hat trick with a power-play goal 3:36 into the third that extended the Spartans lead to 4-2.
Ruskell — who had a hand in three goals — added an empty-net goal with 9 seconds remaining.
Cothern took care of the rest, stopping nine shots in the first and third periods, and 11 shots in the second, to improve to 5-2-1 as a starter this season. He lowered his goals-against average to 2.04 and upped his save percentage to .933, the fifth-best mark in the state.
East plays against rival Mankato West on Friday, Jan. 21, at Blakeslee Field in Mankato, as part of the preliminaries to Hockey Day Minnesota.
Mayo returns to action at 7:15 p.m. Tuesday, when it hosts section rival Hastings.
MAYO 5, EAST 2
East 2-0-0 — 2
Mayo 2-1-2 — 5
Mankato East: Christian Theuninck 2 goals; Brayden Borgmeier 2 assists; Alexander Morgan 1 assist. Goalie: Caelin Brueske 29 saves (33 shots).
Rochester Mayo: Ethan Norman 1 assist; Jacob Brown 1 assist; Gavin Black 1 assist; Sam Jacobson 1 assist; Mason Leimbek 3 goals, 1 assist; Cohen Ruskell 2 goals, 1 assist. Goalie: Tate Cothern 29 saves (31 shots).
RED WING 6, FARIBAULT 0
RED WING — Dixon Ehlers recorded a 38-save shutout — and had one assist — and Casey Larson scored four goals to lift Red Wing past conference rival Faribault at Prairie Island Arena. Larson is on a tear, with nine points in the past six games. Ehlers, meanwhile, upped his save percentage this season to .936, the fourth-best mark in the state.
RED WING 6, FARIBAULT 0
Faribault 0-0-0 — 0
Red Wing 1-1-4 — 6
Faribault: Goalie: Seamus O’Connor 26 saves (32 shots).
Red Wing: Carson Ahern 2 assists; Tristen Peterson 1 goal, 2 assists; Nick Wooden 1 assist; Landin Ramstad 1 assist; Jacob Quade 1 goal; Dixon Ehlers 1 goal; Casey Larson 4 goals. Goalie: Dixon Ehlers 38 saves (38 shots).