Braves dominate two Minnesota squads
The Bottineau-Rugby hockey team cruised by two Minnesota opponents in games last week. The Braves crushed Breck-Wahpeton, 11-0, and handled Wadena, 10-3.
The scores aren’t indicative of what BR will face through the rest of the West Region schedule, but the blowouts served as momentum builders for the team’s less experienced players on the varsity level.
Sophomore goaltender Ethan Clements (Rugby) played both games, finishing with 14 saves in the shutout and 16 against Wadena.
“That helped a lot, I think,” Clements said, “just to get an idea of it. It was a lot faster pace. I was really nervous. The second game I felt kind of off, but in that I think I did OK.”?Clements described a couple of Wadena’s goals as “flukish”, but found a comfort level in net.
“There were a couple breakaways and I felt relaxed and I stopped the puck,” he said.
The Braves (7-2) were on a five-game win streak heading into Friday’s rematch at Jamestown. BR beat the Blue Jays 6-2 on Dec. 20.
Taking care of overmatched opponents has proven a strength for BR, as the team has put games out of reach with quick flurries of goals.
Against Breck-Wahpeton, the Braves scored seven goals in the first period. State scoring leaders Harrison Aide (22 goals, 18 assists) and Luke Amsbaugh (24 g, 14 a) continued their stellar start to the season. The senior forward Aide scored the first goal 34 seconds into the game and added another later in the period. He finished with four assists in the game.
Amsbaugh matched his linemate in points with four goals and two assists.
The Wadena game wasn’t much different. Amsbaugh again had four goals and two assists and Aide notched five goals and two assists. Senior Andrew Hill had assists on four of Aide’s goals, including three in a row between the second and third periods. The team’s lofty numbers are concentrated through Aide and Amsbaugh, but through unselfish play.
“They’re pretty good and I feel comfortable playing with them,” Clements said. “They get us ahead and I just feel more relaxed playing with them. They always help the team out and they’re not too selfish, either.”
The Braves play at Mandan at 6:30 p.m. tonight and host Williston Jan. 10 at 7:30 p.m. at Rugby’s Al Wentz Arena.
The rest of the state’s top offensive players will likely be playing catch up the rest of the season. Bismarck Century’s Keaton Leininger is the next closest in points with 30. Six other players have 20 or more points, far off Aide and Amsbaugh.
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