Posted by: Feldman
Day 1 of the 2011 Kiwanis Festival is in the books, with a couple of close games and a few that weren't close.
We saw 78 total goals scored; 48 in the four games in the Class A bracket, 30 in the Class AA bracket. I didn't see all 78 go in, but it feels like it (and, no, that's not a complaint. I'll suck it up and take 10 hours of watching hockey if I have to).
As we expected might be the case, Rochester Mayo and Eau Claire Memorial put on the game of the day. I, and most everybody at Graham I, thought we were headed for a shootout in the second game of the day, but ECM's Mike Kapla scored with 38.7 seconds to go in OT to send the Old Abes (don't ask me, I don't know what an Old Abe is, either) to the semifinals.
Some links to the stories that will appear in today's paper (and if you're heading out to the Festival, you can pick up a complementary copy of the P-B at the Graham Arena complex):
* Class AA roundup This turned into a short feature-type story on Kapla, Memorial's junior defenseman who was selected by Sioux City in last spring's USHL Draft. Kapla also played in the Upper Midwest Elite League this fall. One note that I couldn't fit in the story: Kapla's dad is a Minnesota native and the family has had season tickets to the Gophers hockey games for years. Kapla said his dream is to play D-I college hockey for the U of M.
* Class A roundup I led the Class A roundup with Lourdes, which did something quite impressive tonight. I've never seen 17 players get on the scoresheet, but the Eagles managed that against Richfield, in a 12-2 win. They had 17 players record at least one point each. That's probably some sort of Kiwanis Festival record, but I don't have deep enough archives to check, so let's go with it as a record. Lourdes was able to get its third and fourth lines a lot of ice time and those guys produced tonight, as did all of the team's defensemen. It was an impressive showing that I'll get into in more detail one day this weekend or next week.
Some Faceoff Blog awards from Day 1:
* Game of the Day: Eau Claire Memorial 2, Mayo 1. If I had more space to write about this game in print, Mayo goalie Case Hansen would have received a lot more ink. He was tremendous, stopping 35 shots and keeping Mayo in the game when it struggled to get anything going offensively in the first two periods. Hansen, a junior, is staking his claim to that starting spot. Senior Michael DeBusman has played well, but Hansen has been really good in his past couple of starts. The few rebounds that Hansen didn't control on Wednesday were cleared by his defensemen. The game-winning goal that Kapla scored was just a good shot. Kapla and Charley Grasskamp worked a nice give-and-go and Kapla ripped a wrist shot from the bottom of the right circle that beat Hansen to the short side. It was fitting that a good goal ended a really good game.
* Goalie of the day: Case Hansen, Mayo. See above. Hansen was outstanding in the Spartans' loss.
* Player of the day: Hayden Ashworth, Century. The speedy sophomore was all over the ice for the Panthers. He had a hand in all six of their goals in a 6-3 victory against New Richmond. Ashworth had a hat trick and three assists. He scored twice in the first period, when Century built a 3-0 lead, then scored an empty-netter in the third to seal the victory.
* Play of the day: ECM's game-winning goal in OT. It's late (early, actually) and this is the one play that keeps coming to mind when I try to think of the best goal I saw today (yesterday, actually). The give-and-go between Grasskamp and Kapla was worked nicely, in crunch time of a well-played game. ... Lourdes' junior Jason Samuelson's goal on a powerful slapshot also comes to mind because it caught me off guard. I can't remember seeing Samuelson wind up with a big slap shot like that before. He put some zip on it; it'd be fun to see that more often.
Hey, let's go back to the rink in, say, 8 hours. Who's with me? C'mon, you must have some sick days to use up before year's end, right? Push the paperwork aside and come to Graham Arena. I'm particularly looking forward to the two Class AA semifinals. Memorial and Prior Lake (4:45 p.m.) are both stocked with big, bruising guys. That should be a physical, hard-hitting contest. They'll be followed by Fargo South and Century (7 p.m.), who will meet for the fifth time in the past six years. That's also always an intense matchup. Get your seats early.