Matt Pohlkamp moved into elite company during Thursday night’s Central Lakes Conference game at Brainerd Area Civic Center.
The Brainerd senior right wing became the second-leading scorer in program history with four assists as the Warriors defeated the Alexandria Cardinals 7-4.
Pohlkamp passed Josh Archibald for second place with a second-period assist. That assist gave him 158 points, one more than Archibald. Pohlkamp added three more assists, putting him just 13 points behind Brainerd’s all-time leader, J.P. Platisha.
“It’s exciting for me,” Pohlkamp said of being No. 2. “I’ve still got one more to go, but I’m trying not to think about it.
“We struggled tonight. ... We just need to focus more on wins from all our players right now, instead of points.”
Pohlkamp was referring to the 7-2 lead Brainerd built until getting whistled for a 5-minute major for head contact, a penalty during which Alexandria tallied twice with a man advantage.
Warriors coach Jim Archibald was not pleased with the way Brainerd, which leads the CLC, responded after its first-ever win at Roseau last weekend. That win helped Brainerd crack into the Class 2A rankings at No. 20.
“Unfortunately, when you talk about the game tonight, from the drop of the puck to the end of the game — we discussed it as coaches — for us it was a B-minus, that was our grade tonight,” he said. “How you react after a big win defines your character. To say the least we were disappointed with the way our guys reacted after the way we performed on Saturday. That’s not going to cut it down the road.
“We’re going to have some individual meetings (Friday). We’ve got some guys we’ve got to talk to. We’ve got to get some guys turned around because this two and out in the playoffs is getting old for Brainerd, and we’re going to do everything we can to stop it this year.”
Alexandria had lost 8-0 to Brainerd Dec. 8. But the Cardinals set the pace in the first, at the end of which they led 1-0.
“We came out in the first period like they were going to give us the game,” Archibald said. “It was like our guys thought they mailed us the two points before the game even started. As coaches, we’re disappointed. That pretty well sums it up for us.”
The Warriors awakened in the second, outshooting Alexandria 19-4, and scoring three unanswered goals for a 3-1 lead.
Logan Rivard started the scoring parade at 5:16 of the second, taking a pass from Cole Smith, and smacking it home.
On a power play, Smith put Brainerd ahead for good, converting a laser of a pass through the crease from Pohlkamp.
“(Aaron) Rich was on the side boards,” Pohlkamp said. “A player committed to him. Rich passed it to me, I slid out to the front of the net, their (defenseman) slid down and I passed to Cole, back door and he scored.”
Reno Fussy completed the second-period scoring for a 3-1 edge, with a shot high in the slot, thanks to a crisp pass from Mitch McLain.
McLain finished with two goals and three assists. Aaron Rich added two goals and two assists.
After Alexandria closed within 3-2 in the third, the Warriors rattled off four unanswered goals — two apiece by McLain and Rich — in a 5.5-minute stretch. The Cardinals scored twice during the 5-minute major, but Brainerd recorded its fifth straight win.
“We got that 5-minute penalty and they got two power-plays goals, that was kind of a bummer to the game,” Pohlkamp said.
Alexandria 1 0 3 — 4
Brainerd 0 3 4 — 7
First period: A-Jack Wensman (Jordan Domine, Tom Schmidt) 9:19
Second period: Brd-Logan Rivard (Cole Smith, Chris Pohlkamp) 5:16; Brd-Smith (Matt Pohlkamp, Mitch McLain) ppg 9:30; Brd-Reno Fussy (McLain, Jake Ellingson) 13:31
Third period: A-Wensman (Garrett Skinner, Domine) ppg 4:11; Brd-McLain (Aaron Rich, M. Pohlkamp) 4:46; Brd-Rich (Jed Rusk, Thomas Stoxen) 7:02; Brd-Rich (M. Pohlkamp, McLain 7:38; Brd-McLain (Rich, M. Pohlkamp) ppg 9:51; A-Brady Bast (Andrew Rentschler, Brock Wood) ppg 10:17; A-Schmidt (Skinner) ppg 13:16
Shots on goal: Brd 8-19-15—42, A 6-4-13—23
Goalies: Brd-Jared Stearns (19 saves); A-Ben Allen (35 saves).