Chris Mattson played junior varsity boys' hockey for St. Cloud Tech last year before moving with his family to Brainerd for the start of this school year.
"My dad wanted to transfer up here to work (for MnDOT) and we wanted to live on a lake," Mattson said. "We looked at the school, liked the hockey coach, and liked the team, so we decided to move up."
The Brainerd Warriors like what they have seen of Mattson. Brainerd's 4-0 victory over the highly regarded Tigers was particularly satisfying for Mattson, who didn't play a varsity game for Tech. The junior left wing scored the game's first goal Saturday, his sixth of the season, spurring Brainerd to its third straight victory.
After a scoreless opening period, Mattson took a pass from Matt Burris and tallied at 1:00 of the second with a shot from a sharp angle inside the circle.
"I just stepped out from behind the goal line," Mattson said. "I took a shot, watched it go and it popped in the net."
Warriors coach Ty Eigner said it's amazing how fine the line is between a team being up or a team being down.
"Chris scores a goal, and 'Boom,' our bench jumps up, then we score again and now everybody's rolling," Eigner said. "Instead of trying to find one guy to come out and lead, now we've got 15 guys who are trying to lead by example.
"Chris shot the puck to the net, which is what we want to do more of, and I thought Matt Burris getting to the puck at the end of his shift was equally important."
Burris scored the next goal, at 35 seconds of the second period, when his shot trickled into the net off the glove of Tech goalie Vincent Wheeler. Burris, a senior left wing, had a three-point game.
Other goals were by J.P. Platisha, who scorched a slap shot from the circle at 3:03 of the third, and by Tony Parrish, who fired into an empty net with one second left.
The Warriors forechecked tenaciously and goalie Jon Weston was dazzling, kicking out several point-blank opportunities and finishing with 25 saves. It was Weston's second consecutive shutout and raised his record to 4-1-0. Weston beat Bemidji 3-0 in his last outing Jan. 5.
"Jon has done a nice job," Eigner said. "He made some good saves. If you let them see the puck, and you eliminate the rebound shots, most goalies are going to stop them, and that's what we expect.
"Jon is feeling good about himself. As much as he has gotten better, our whole team has gotten better around him, and that's good. That's what we hope happens."
The Warriors happened to shut down a Tech team that had five players with a combined 96 points. They also beat a team that entered the contest with one conference loss and a 10-4-1 overall mark.
"We've had good games with these guys in the past," Eigner said. "They've been very even and well played.
"In the first period, for a team that had won two in a row, I thought we were real flat, but we were lucky they were equally as flat.
"We told the kids this is anybody's game. Whoever comes out and decides they want to win the game, will win the game. Our kids played real well in the second. Our forecheck was as good as it's been all year."
St. Cloud Tech 0 0 0 -- 0
Brainerd 0 1 3 -- 4
Second period -- B-Chris Mattson (Matt Burris) 1:00
Third period -- B-Burris (J.P. Platisha, Zach Toms) :35; B-Platisha (Mike Solinger) 3:03; B-Tony Parrish (Burris, Toms) eng 14:59
Shots on goal -- SCT 8-5-12--25; B 8-11-5--24
Goalies -- SCT-Vincent Wheeler (20 saves); B-Jon Weston (25 saves)
Power-play opportunities -- SCT 0-1; B 0-5
Conference -- SCT 3-2-0, B 3-2-0. Overall -- SCT 10-5-1, B 7-5-0. Next game -- Grand Rapids at Brainerd 7:30 p.m. Tuesday.
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