Sophomore Matt Blanch scored his first two varsity goals and the Brainerd Warriors breezed past the River Lakes Stars 7-1 for their eighth straight win in Thursday’s Central Lakes Conference game at Brainerd Area Civic Center.
Cole Smith tallied a goal and four assists for the Warriors, who improved to 12-4-0 overall.
Logan Rivard netted a pair of goals while Reno Fussy and Alexander Mimmack each scored once for Brainerd.
The Warriors outshot the Stars 60-14 with Kyle Helmberger rejecting nine shots before giving way to Jared Rubado for the third period.
The Warriors had entered the game tied for the conference lead with eight points apiece with the St. Cloud Tech Tigers, who were idle Thursday night. Tech defeated the Warriors 5-4 in overtime earlier this season and come to Brainerd Jan. 24.
The Warriors host Roseau in a Section 8-2A game Friday night.
River Lakes 0 0 1 — 1
Brainerd 2 4 1 — 7
First period: Brd-Reno Fussy (Cole Smith) 3:46; Brd-Logan Rivard (Jed Rusk, Smith) 16:47
Second period: Brd-Smith (Jacob Ellingson, Christopher Pohlkamp) ppg 4:24; Brd-Rivard (Thomas Stoxen, Smith) 10:45; Brd-Matt Blanch (Adam Fischer) ppg 11:54; Brd-Alexander Mimmack ppg 15:33
Third period: RL-Matt Kissner (Reed Pfannenstein, Austin Stone) 1:15; Brd-Blanch (Fischer, Smith) 4:26
Shots on goal: Brd 60, RL 14
Goalies: Brd-Kyle Helmberger (9 saves), Jared Rubado (4 saves); RL-Chris Skluzacek (53 saves)
Conference: Brd 7-2-0. Overall: Brd 12-4-0. Next: Brainerd host Roseau 7:15 p.m. Friday.