Published January 18, 2017 at 3:58 pm
by Jared Hines
Contributing Sports Writer
Coming off two straight conference losses to St. Michael-Albertville and Monticello, the Rogers boys’ hockey team was ready to turn a corner and show that they could still compete with the conference’s best teams.
The Royals did just that, winning two straight Mississippi 8 games en route to inching back to .500 on the season.
“it’s very important to have a full roster in order to play together as a team and get the chemistry we need to be successful,” said Royals skater Justin Grudem.
Jacob Vaillancourt has seven goals in the last six games for the Royals. (Photo courtesy of Brianna Burnham)
The mini-win streak started on Jan. 12, with the Royals taking on the Princeton Tigers at the Rogers Activity Center. Grudem and the rest of the Royals came out firing, with Grudem scoring the team’s first of three goals in the first period alone. Jake Moss and David Bauer also scored in the first period in which the Royals outshot the Tigers 16-5.
Nobody knew, but the Royals were just getting started.
“The team has to continue with its attitude,” Bauer said. “We need to build off this win and get ready for the next game by preparing mentally.”
Bauer was one of four Royals to score in the second period of the Royals 10-0 win over Princeton. Sam Libke and Michael VanStelten also scored in the period, with Royals leading scorer Jordan Fischer scoring twice in extending the Royals lead to 8-0. VanStelten and Jacob Vaillancourt scored in the third period for goals No. 9 and 10 on the night.
“Michael VanStelten is playing very well lately,” Bauer said. He’s going into the corners to get the puck and always comes out with it. Me and him work very well together.”
Members of the Royals took their momentum with them to Cambridge-Isanti two days later, where the Royals overcame a 2-1 deficit, scoring four unanswered goals in the second and third periods to defeat the Bluejackets 5-2. Rogers outshot Cambridge-Isanti 21-17, with Vaillancourt, Fischer, Moss, Owen Brewer, and Tanner Voeller scoring the goals for the Royals. Rogers goalie Jonathan Preusse had 15 saves in the victory, his seventh win of the season.
The Royals tried to move back to .500 on Jan 17 against non-conference opponent Champlin Park. Vailliancourt scored in the second period—his third straight game with a goal– to put the Royals on top 1-0 but the Royals scoring would end there. The Rebels came back and tied it late in the second period, scoring the game winning goal with 38 seconds left in the game. The Royals outshot the Rebels 31-11 in the loss.
The Royals are now 7-9 on the season and 4-3 in the Mississippi 8 Conference. Buffalo currently leads the conference with a 6-1 record. The Royals next game is Jan. 21 against Chisago Lakes (8-8).
Player Stats as of January 13th, 2017: (16 games)
Jordan Fischer: 14 goals, 14 assists
Jake Moss: 7 goals, 19 assists
Justin Grudem: 10 goals, 6 assists
Sam Libke: 4 goals, 11 assists
Michael VanStelten: 4 goals, 7 assists
Mitchell Becker: 3 goals, 8 assists
Jacob Vaillancourt: 8 goals, 2 assists
David Bauer: 2 goals, 7 assists
Nathan Thelen: 3 goals, 6 assists
Josh Bridell: 3 goals, 4 assists
Owen Brewer: 2 goals, 4 assists
Tanner Voeller: 3 goals, 1 assist
Tate Nelson: 1 goal, 3 assists
Jac Mateja: 1 assist
Matt Becker: 1 assist
Jonathan Preusse: .882 save percentage, 2.68 goals allowed average, 2 shutouts