Rochester’s big scorers Lourdes showed up when the Eagles needed them most.
Senior defenseman Charlie Kielty, the team’s second-leading scorer, scored twice. Peyton Loeslie, a sophomore with 36 points, scored for the fourth time in five games. Top scorer Matt Mahoney added an empty goal.
But the game-winning goal Thursday, as No. 2 seeded Lourdes beat No. 7 Winona 5-1 in a men’s hockey Section One, Class A quarterfinal? It belonged to senior defender Henry Radke.
Lourdes head coach Jeff True calls Radke a “heart and soul” type of player. The goal was only Radke’s third of the season, but his coach couldn’t have been happier than to see the hardworking blue-liner score the winner in a playoff game.
“He works so hard,” True said of Radke. “It lightens the mood in the room; he is very talkative and keeps the bench light when going down a bit. He always pats guys on the back.
“He will tell you that he may not be the most talented defender in the team, but he does a lot of things very, very well. He talked before the game about putting a lot of pucks on the net, just throwing pucks towards the net. (His goal) was a great shot, top corner, blocker side, crossing his body like a southpaw. It really gave us the boost we needed.
Radke’s other goals this season came on Jan. 8 in a 9-1 win over Austin, and on Feb. 8 in a 7-2 win at Waseca.
“He’s so smart and positionally solid,” True said of Radke. “What he may lack in speed he more than makes up for in intelligence and positioning, understanding of the game and knowing his limits.
“He’s one of our best penalty killers. That’s the first thing you’re supposed to do is know your position in your zone and when you have someone there as a third and fourth defender. He’s consistent, steady and consistent and when he’s out there our other guys can be a bit more attacking.
Radke’s goal capped a good start for the Eagles, who scored twice in the opening 6:01 of the game. Kielty started the scoring at 2:42, when he grabbed the puck in the neutral zone, skated it into the Winhawks end and into the top crease before sliding it past the goaltender. Winona Justin Brickner.
Just over three minutes later, Radke found himself with the puck on the other side of the ice and he got it across the blue line with space. He slipped into the right circle and landed a powerful wrist shot past Brickner’s blocker to make it 2-0. It was the match winner.
Winona halved his deficit in the second period – a period in which he controlled play and edged Lourdes 14-6. The Winhawks earned a tie in their own end and created a 3-on-2 run, which Mason Wadewitz ended, scoring his fourth goal of the season 7:45 into the period.
It was the only goal of the period, and the only time the Winhawks managed to beat Eagles second Xander Carter-Kleven, who looked sharp in making 22 saves.
“If you can get up and take a lead in a section game, sometimes it’s hard to come back against that,” True said. “You go down, you start squeezing the stick tight, pressing down a bit and the nerves kick in.
“Winona is a very well trained team; Fran (McDevitt) is a great coach and we knew they were going to come out second and play hard. Our boys weathered the storm as best they could.
The victory propels Lourdes (19-7-0) into Saturday’s 8 p.m. Section 1A semifinal matchup against either Albert Lea or La Crescent-Hokah at the Rochester Recreation Center. That’s a far cry from just two years ago when the Eagles went without a win.
The program, led by a talented and hardworking group of seniors, has come a long way in a short time.
“We don’t talk about it a lot because I know what they’ve been through this season and it was really tough,” True said. “You go through a season without winning a game and that’s… where do you find the motivation to keep working hard when things just aren’t going your way. For them to keep pressing and working during the offseason, training and being part of our summer program…and believing in themselves.That’s what we’ve been talking about for the past two years with this group, just keep believing.
LOURDES 5, WINONA 1
Winona 0-1-0 — 1
Heavy 2-0-3 — 5
First period — 1. LRDS, Charlie Kielty 23 (unattended) 2:42. 2. LRDS, Henry Radke 3 (Peyton Loeslie 21) 6:01. Second period — 3. VICTORY, Mason Wadewitz 4 (Travis Timm 3, Easton Kronebusch 5) 7:45. Third period — 4. LRDS, Kielty 24 (unattended) 4:09. 5. LRDS, Loeslie 15 (AJ Ritter 6) 7:08. 6. LRDS, Matt Mahoney 27 (unassisted) 14:11 (en).
Shoot to the net — WIN 7-14-2—23; LRDS 10-6-13—29. Goalkeepers — WIN, Justin Brickner (L; 24 saves – 28 shots); LRDS, Xander Carter-Kleven (F; 22 saves – 23 shots). Power play opportunities — WIN, 0 for 1; LRDS, none. Penalties — WIN, none; LRDS, 1-2 minutes.
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PB’S 3 STARS
3. Henry Radke, Lourdes: The senior defender and captain scored his third goal of the season, which turned out to be the game winner.
2. Xander Carter-Kleven, Lourdes: The second-year goaltender stopped 22 of 23 shots, including 13 in the second period.
1. Charlie Kielty, Lourdes: The senior defender scored twice, including the first goal of the match.