By Shane Frederick
Free Press Staff Writer
The Mankato West boys hockey team wanted a fast start against Mankato East/Loyola, and it couldn’t have gotten a much faster one Thursday.
Galt Goettl’s goal just 13 seconds into the first period set the tone for what would end up as a lopsided 11-0 Big Nine Conference win at All Seasons Arena.
“We just came out really hard and made sure we buried one right away,” Scarlets junior forward Zach Erickson said. “We kept it going all game.”
Erickson led the way with four goals and an assist, a big game for a player that West has high hopes for after an injury caused him to miss part of last season.
“When Zach’s going and he’s healthy, he’s got some wheels,” coach Curtis Doell said. “He’s got a knack for the net. … That’s his game; he gets up and gets going.”
Tyler Loe had two goals and four assists in the win, and Cole Filler added a pair of goals. Ryan Jutting had three assists. Six different players scored for the Scarlets. Derek Frentz and Max Mettler had goals.
“All in all, I thought we were very good as a team, very good as a whole,” Erickson said.
The Scarlets bombarded the Cougars early and took a 4-0 lead after one period. Goettl put back his own rebound for the game’s first goal.
If it wasn’t for goalie Jeremia Merela, the first period would have been much worse for East/Loyola. Merela made a few tough saves and ended up with 16 stops for the period, finishing with 31 in the game.
“They got off to a really fast start,” Cougars coach Aaron Anderson said. “They were able to control the game way more than we were able to.”
If East/Loyola was going to get back in the game, it needed to take advantage of a five-minute power play early in the second period.
But Loe scored short-handed 4 1⁄2 minutes into the third, and Filler made it 6-0 just 71 seconds later. Merela was replaced with Aaron Kroeber, who finished with 26 saves. But it only took another 28 seconds for Mettler to score to make it 7-0.
West scored seven goals in the second period, getting three from Erickson.
The final shots ended up being 68-15 in favor of West. West’s Jake Spiess earned the shutout.
West (2-0-0) will play again at noon Saturday when it hosts Winona. East/Loyola (1-1-0) will host Windom Area at 6 p.m. Saturday.