By Eric Morken, Alexandria Echo Press
The Alexandria Blizzard couldn't afford to get off to a slow start in its match-up against the Russian Red Stars on Monday night, but that's exactly what happened in a 5-1 loss in front of an announced record crowd of 1,166 people at the Runestone Community Center.
The Red Stars wasted no time asserting themselves as they jumped out to a 3-0 lead in the first period in what was the second game of eight exhibitions for the junior all-star team. Russia scored on a power play early before adding a breakaway goal off a turnover. The Red Stars then caught a break after a puck bounced off a Blizzard player's stick and into the net for a commanding lead.
Alexandria settled down after that. Goalie Zach Woodman came in for Jacob Meyers in the second period and allowed just one goal. He recorded 16 saves before giving way to Jameson Shortreed in the third period.
"I thought we played really well," Alexandria head coach Doc DelCastillo said. "I think they're definitely a talented team. Their size and their strength made things lopsided at times. They have big, strong , skilled players that can skate, but I think our guys battled them tonight…I think the second and third period were competitive."
The Blizzard's only goal of the night came off the stick of Alexandria's Thomas Williams. The former Cardinal standout crashed the net early in the third and scooped up a rebound before putting in a backhand shot on an open net to make it a 4-1 game.
"It was definitely a great feeling," Williams said. "But mostly it gave the team a little boost. We had things rolling for a little while."
The momentum came to an end when the Red Stars scored on a shorthanded goal midway through the final frame after a Russian player was given a game misconduct after a fight with the Blizzard's Rodney Lalonde.
The 5-1 win allowed Russia to bounce back from a 5-1 loss to the University of North Dakota two nights ago. The Red Stars will now travel to Bismarck to take on the Bobcats on Wednesday before taking on five Division I teams to wrap up their trip.