The Brainerd Warriors boys' hockey team suffered more than a 3-2 loss to the Alexandria Cardinals Tuesday.
Promising sophomore defenseman Chris Peluso suffered a separated shoulder with 3:28 left in the second period of the Central Lakes Conference game and had to be assisted from the ice at Brainerd Area Civic Center. Peluso was checked into the boards behind the Warriors' net and dropped to the ice in pain.
"We'll know more (Wednesday)," Warriors coach Ty Eigner said. "He's going to miss some time anyway.
"He plays a lot of minutes for us, a lot of special teams time, power play and penalty kill."
Brainerd, which lost for only the second time in seven games, fell behind 3-0 as it could not get going offensively.
"Our defense was standing up the play," Alexandria coach Mike Donahue said. "Our wings were making sure they keep the puck to the outside. Our centers were helping out down low, just basic hockey. We have enough respect for Brainerd that we know if we don't play that way they've got some guys who can bury the puck."
The Warriors were unable to bury the puck and had few quality scoring chances. They were shut out until the third period when Mike Solinger and Morgan Shepherd scored in the final 94 seconds.
"We didn't play with the same kind of desperation," Eigner said. "We kind of played OK. (Goalie) Nick Whichello kept us in there early. He made some big saves, but I don't think we were as into it as we've been. We didn't come out flying around the rink."
The Cardinals flew around all night but Whichello, who made 24 saves, and Brainerd's defense kept them in check for two periods.
Dustin Clarquist scored on a 2-on-1 break with Tim Skiba at 11:23 of the first period and the score remained that way until the third.
At 4:19 of the third, Andrew Olson put the Cardinals ahead 2-0 on a power play when he took a pass from behind the net and whacked it past Whichello.
"Our penalty kill guys were out there for 1:21, and not by choice," Eigner said. "(Alexandria) had the puck. We couldn't get the puck away from them.
More than five minutes later, Alexandria jumped to a three-goal edge as Meyers scored on a backhander on a 3-on-2 rush.
Solinger scored on a power play with 1:34 left when he rifled in a slap shot from the right point.
Forty-nine seconds later, Brainerd pulled Whichello in favor of a sixth skater and Morgan Shepherd scored by tipping in Solinger's shot from the point.
Jason Roberts nearly tied it with a powerful slap shot from the right circle with 2.9 seconds left. At the buzzer, Zach Lundbohm fired a slap shot from the left point that was blocked before it reached Cardinals goalie Wade Loch.
"It was an even game," Eigner said. "The difference is they were a little more skilled than we were. They get a 2-on-1, they make a good play, and it's in the back of the net."
Alexandria 1 0 2 -- 3
Brainerd 0 0 2 -- 2
First period -- A-Dustin Clarquist (Tim Skiba, Phil Toft) 11:23
Second period -- No scoring
Third period -- A-Andrew Olson (Josh Meyers, Jeff Schutte) 4:19 ppg; A-Meyers (Shawn Bitzan, Olson) 9:39; B-Mike Solinger (Korey Horn, Jason Roberts) 13:26 ppg; B-Morgan Shepherd (Solinger, Zach Lundbohm) 14:45
Shots on goal -- A 11 6 10 -- 27; B 10 6 8 -- 24
Goalies -- A-Wade Loch (22 saves); B-Nick Whichello (24 saves)
Power-play opportunities -- A 1-1, B 1-2
Conference -- A 12-1-0, B 8-4-0. Overall -- A 17-4-0, B 11-10-1. Next game -- St. Cloud Tech at Brainerd 7:30 p.m. Thursday.
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