A quarterfinal win in the Section 8-2A tournament and a program milestone made it a productive night for the Brainerd Warriors.
The third-seeded Warriors scored the game’s final three goals and Matt Pohlkamp became the program’s all-time leading scorer as Brainerd defeated the sixth-seeded St. Cloud Tech Tigers 4-1 Tuesday night at Brainerd Area Civic Center.
With the game tied 1-1, Aaron Rich and Pohlkamp scored to close the second period and Reno Fussy added a third-period marker to send Brainerd into the semifinals at 7 p.m. Saturday at No. 2 Bemidji, which blanked River Lakes 6-0 Tuesday night.
“We’ve really got to bring our A game,” Pohlkamp said of Saturday’s game. “There’s no more time to joke around or anything. It’s go big or go home.
“We’ve been saying it’s our year. We really want to get it done.”
Bemidji beat the Warriors 5-2 Dec. 22 in Brainerd. The Lumberjacks outshot Brainerd 34-25 and scored two power-play goals.
“You enjoy this one tonight, (Wednesday) morning we have to start thinking about Bemidji,” Warrior coach Jim Archibald said. “We had a couple guys up there scouting them out tonight, and obviously they will come back with a report on some of their systems and possibly what they’re using. That’s what we’re going to start building for (Wednesday) and the next couple of days after that.”
Pohlkamp became the record-holder at 10:39 of the second with an assist on Rich’s goal, breaking J.P. Platisha’s 10-year-old mark of 174 points.
Rich’s score snapped a 1-1 stalemate. He scooped the rebound of Pohlkamp’s shot into an open side of the net.
“I think it was a 2 on 2,” Pohlkamp said of the play. “I drove wide past the (defense). I kind of lost the puck a little bit and their guy tried to come at me. I put a move through him and shot a backhander on net. The rebound went right to Aaron and he put it home.”
Pohlkamp finished the second-period scoring, wristing in the puck, which had slid into the slot after a faceoff to the left of Tigers’ goalie Austin Althaus. The score gave Pohlkamp 176 career points.
“He’s had a great four years here, and obviously our season’s not done,” Archibald said of Pohlkamp. “Matt’s going to rack up a few more points.
“It’s great for Matt, it’s great for his teammates because he’s had some great teammates that have helped him along the way. Overall, it’s great for everybody involved.”
Brainerd won for the 11th time in 12 games by playing tight defense in front of goalie Jared Stearns, who faced just 15 shots. The only Tech goal was a David Kenney rebound that tied it 1-1 at 7:13 of the second.
In a scoreless first, both teams were conservative, with Brainerd leading 3-2 in shots.
“It was kind of a typical playoff game,” Archibald said. “Both teams were just kind of sitting back, being a little defensive and just kind of waiting for the other team to make a mistake.
“Obviously, as the game went on, we got better, and as a result we got a couple of goals. The momentum built and we kind of went back into our defensive mode and shut them down for the rest of the game.”
Defenseman Gaven Motschenbacher opened the scoring at 4:40 of the second on a power play, drilling a slap shot over Althaus’ right shoulder.
• Mitch McLain tied the program record for goals in a season (35) with a goal against Sartell Feb. 16. McLain needs one goal to break Jerr Johnson’s 20-year-old record of 35.
Tech 0 1 0 — 1
Brainerd 0 3 1 — 4
First period: No scoring
Second period: Brd-Gaven Motschenbacher (Aaron Rich) ppg 4:40; SCT-David Kenney (Tyler Gromberg) 7:13; Brd-Rich (Matt Pohlkamp, Cole Smith) 10:39; Brd-Matt Pohlkamp (Jed Rusk, Mitch McLain) 15:43
Third period: Brd-Reno Fussy (Chris Pohlkamp, Logan Rivard) ppg 14:50
Shots on goal: Brd 3-9-10-22, SCT 2-8-5-15
Goalies: Brd-Jared Stearns (14 saves); SCT- Austin Althaus (18 saves).