SPORTS & SCHOOL
Journal-Press Internet Sports & School - February 5, 2016 Rob LaPlante
Journal-Press Sports Editor
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Bison rally past Rogers in OT
By Rob LaPlante
With four games remaining in the regular season, the Buffalo boys’ hockey team feels like its hitting its stride.
A 5-1 road victory Thursday, Jan. 28 at Holy Angels was followed up with a dramatic 4-3 overtime home win Saturday, Jan. 30 over Rogers.
The latter of the two victories proved to be the most important. While the Bison were officially eliminated the week before from any hopes of a conference title, Saturday’s win over the Royals was their first of the season (1-2-1) over a section opponent.
“This was a playoff game for us,” said Bison head coach Aaron Johnson. “We had a rough stretch in the middle of the season that kind of put us in the seventh seed in the section. We looked at this game as a chance to climb up and hopefully leapfrog some teams at the end of the season.”
Senior captain Brady Hartman gave the Bison the first of four leads in the contest scoring the lone goal of period one at the 3:09 mark.
Twice in the second period the Royals tied the score, only to see the Bison answer in their next shift. The first coming at 7:04 off the stick of Hartman, which gave Buffalo a 2-1 advantage. Hartman’s goal came 57 seconds after Dustin Schoepke tied the score 1-1.
Jordan Fischer tied the score 2-2 at 11:41 for the Royals, but 1:03 later, junior forward Luke Ramsey gave the Bison a 3-2 lead heading into the third period.
“We had great responses,” Johnson said. “Every time they grabbed some momentum from us, we came right back.”
Fatigue of three games in five days creeped into play as the Royals hemmed the Bison in their own zone for most the third period. Rogers outshot the Bison 12-4 in period three. Senior forward Vinny Billing tied the game for the third time at the 2:46 mark.
Senior goalie Taylor Strenge made several key saves down the stretch to send the game into overtime.
“He’s made the first save for us and hasn’t let any goals in that kill momentum for us,” Johnson said. “The guys are playing hard for him right now. We’re just riding the hot goalie.”
“Taylor’s been playing phenomenal,” said Bison junior Blake Habisch, who came into the game equally as hot, riding the strength of an 8-game point scoring streak. “He’s been stopping pucks. His rebound control has been pretty good and he’s been making some big saves for us.”
Strenge has started seven of the past 10 games for Buffalo and posted a 1.32 GAA and .932 save percentage with two shutouts. Senior goalie and two-year starter Ben Zitur has played in 14 of Buffalo’s first 20 games and posted a 4-9-1 record with a 3.24 goals against average and save percentage of .884.
“It’s good when you have goalies like this,” Johnson said. “It’s been a competition all year. We have two really good goalies, and we feel confident in both of them.”
Strenge improved to 5-0-2 in seven appearances thanks to an early goal by Habisch in overtime that resulted from a wild scramble around the goal crease.
Juniors Cade Stensby and Tom Rooney helped set up the game winner at the 1:09 mark. Habisch was lingering around the goal crease and flipped the puck just past Rogers’ goalie Jonny Preusse.
The victory avenged an earlier 3-2 overtime loss Dec. 22 at Rogers. Prior to overtime, Habisch said a few of the guys had flashbacks to that game in which the Bison blew a 2-0 lead.
“I was a little nervous,” said Habisch, whose point streak was extended to nine straight games (10 goals, 9 assists). “Cade told me before our shift, ‘let’s go get one,’ and I was like, ‘alright, let’s do it.’”
“Blake has a ton of speed. He can really turn on the jets,” said Hartman, who finished the night with two goals and an assist. “In the beginning of the season, he was going more around the perimeter. Now he’s driving to the net and getting pretty gritty. That seems to be working for him, and his line of late.”
Stensby has been equally as hot of late. His assist on Habisch’s goal gave him 10 points in his last five games.
Buffalo’s win improved its record to 9-9-3 overall and 6-3-1 in conference play. Although a conference title is no longer in site, players and coaches feel as if they are peaking at the right time of the season.
Like his team, Hartman also is peaking. His three-point effort came on the heels of another three-point game where he posted a goal and two assists in Buffalo’s 5-1 win at Holy Angels.
“We’re just out to win games,” Hartman said. “We want to get ready for the playoff run. We had a long week with two road games and getting back late on school nights. But we’re battling hard and it’s been fun.”
The Bison return to action with a 6 p.m. home game Thursday, Feb. 4 against Moorhead. Two nights later, they have a 7 p.m. tilt on Saturday, Feb. 6 at St. Michael-Albertville. The game lands on Hockey Day Minnesota.
Buffalo 5, Holy Angels 1
(Thursday, Jan. 28 at Richfield)
Bison 0 2 3 - 5
Stars 0 0 0 - 1
First period: No scoring.
Second period: B -- Tom Rooney (Michael Sawdey, Cade Stensby) 3:38; B -- Blake Habisch (Brady Hartman, Nick Mueller) 15:50.
Third period: B -- Stensby, 9:26; B -- Habisch (Mueller, Hartman) 11:30; B -- Hartman (Gavin Welch, Kevin Kemp) 13:30; HA -- Dylan Rallis, 15:00.
Goalies: B – Taylor Strenge (win) 22 shots, 21 saves; HA – Sean Daley (loss) 33 shots, 28 saves; Shots: B -- 8-12-13 – 33; HA -- 11-5-6 – 22. Power Plays: B – 0-2; HA – 0-4.
Buffalo 4, Rogers 3, OT
(Saturday, Jan. 30 at Buffalo)
Royals 0 2 1 0 - 3
Bison1 2 0 1 - 4
First period: B -- Brady Hartman (Gavin Welch) 3:09.
Second period: R -- Dustin Schoepke (Tate Nelson) 6:07; B -- Hartman, 7:04; R -- Jordan Fischer (Schoepke, Jake Moss) 11:41; B -- Luke Ramsey (Conley Stumpfl, Hartman).
Third period: R -- Vinny Billing (Nate Thelen, Fischer).
Overtime: B -- Blake Habisch (Tom Rooney, Cade Stensby) 1:09.
Goalies: R – Jonny Preusse (loss) 27 shots, 23 saves; B – Taylor Strenge (win) 25 shots, 22 saves; Shots: R -- 5-8-12-0 – 25; B -- 6-14-4-3 – 27. Power Plays: R – 0-0; B – 0-0.
Buffalo slams door on Chisago Lakes
Youngsters lift girls basketball squad
By Rob LaPlante
With both teams missing key players out with injuries, it was the depth players that made the difference in a 59-20 Buffalo girls’ basketball road victory Friday, Jan. 29 at Chisago Lakes.
Minus its top two leading scorers, juniors Cadyn Luedemann (concussion) and Hailey Sorenson (ankle), the Bison turned to their youth to carry them to their fourth straight conference victory (4-3).
Sophomore Bailee Larson scored a career-high 16 points and grabbed seven rebounds to lead Buffalo. Freshman Jordan Zrust scored 11 points with six rebounds.
The Bison dominated all phases of the game against a squad also playing without some key players.
“They had a few of their players out as well,” said Bison head coach Scot Sorenson. “With our injuries, we started (junior) Althena Bjorback at the five position and she played well.”
Bjorback, Larson, and sophomore Megan Lowell had big nights inside the paint. Lowell just missed her first career double-double finishing with eight points and eight rebounds. Bjorback scored eight and grabbed five boards, along with three steals.
As a team, the Bison had 40 total rebounds, 11 steals and five blocked shots.
“Our girls played extremely well,” Sorenson said. “Our defense was strong. We were able to go deep into our bench early, and they all contributed right away.”
Chisago Lakes trailed 28-11 at halftime and Buffalo played an even stronger second half, outscoring the Wildcats 31-9.
The victory was Buffalo’s third in the past four games and improved its record to 7-11 overall. The Bison return home for a key section game starting at 7:15 p.m. on Thursday, Feb. 4 against Brainerd. Buffalo is currently 2-3 in section games.
“The five-day break between games is probably good timing,” Sorenson said. “It’s a chance for us to rest up and get healthy. We can also work in practice to shore up a few things for the stretch run.”
The Bison have eight games remaining in the regular season. Five of those will come at home.
Buffalo 59, Chisago Lakes 20
(Friday, Jan. 29 at Chisago Lakes)
Bison 28 31 - 59
Wildcats 11 9 - 20
Bison (59): Bailee Larson 16 (7 rebounds, 2 blocks); Jordan Zrust 11 (6 rebounds); Althena Bjorback 8 (5 rebounds, 3 steals); Megan Lowell 8 (8 rebounds, 2 blocks); Maddy Henson 6 (4 assists, 3 steals); Sarah Hudson 4; Autumn Senger 3; Jordan Warner 3; Reese Wishart 0 (4 assists).
Wildcats (20): Anna Peters 8; Alli Carlson 5; Heather Elfering 4; Sally Nelson 2; Jillian Bielicki 1.
Buffalo lands four wrestlers on M8 all-conference team
By Rob LaPlante
Ten wrestlers on the Buffalo wrestling team reached the podium at the 2015-16 conference tournament held Friday, Jan. 29 at St. Michael-Albertville.
To nobody’s surprise, No. 2-ranked STMA came away as conference champions scoring 302 team points. St. Francis (183.5) was second and Cambridge-Isanti (170.5) finished third. Buffalo scored 140 points to finish fourth, a jump of four spots from last year’s eighth-place finish.
“St. Francis and Cambridge-Isanti year-after-year are always near the top, behind STMA,” said Bison head coach Ben Presler. “We finished 40 points ahead of Big Lake (seventh place) and we lost to them earlier this year in a dual. For us to finish in the top half of the conference this season is extremely exciting.”
Buffalo placed four wrestlers in the top three, earning them a spot on the Mississippi 8 all-conference team. Sophomore Jacob Scherber came away with the 170-pound title. Scherber started his quest for the title with a quarterfinal pin in 52 seconds over Cambridge-Isanti’s Andrew Pauly. His battle in the semifinals with St. Francis’ Cole Kirpach came down to the final seconds, where he recorded a 5-4 decision. His championship match resulted in a pin of Big Lake’s Cole Sixberry in 1:28.
“Jacob wrestled really well,” Presler said. “He defeated a ranked kid from St. Francis and beat another tough kid from Big Lake. It didn’t surprise me to see him win. He wrestles (senior) Adam Treptau every day in practice and he works extremely hard.”
Treptau, ranked No. 2 in Class 3A, lost by a slim 7-6 decision to No. 3 ranked Evan Ronsen of STMA in the championship matchup at 195 pounds. It was only the third time this season Treptau (21-3) has been defeated. Ronsen’s record is now 25-4.
Also earning all-conference honors were senior Cole Scherber, who pinned Anthony Hoglund of St. Francis in 2:52 of the third-place championship. Junior Charlie DesMarais also finished third with a 6-1 decision over STMA’s Cody Schoen.
“For guys like Cole to finish third, and to have two freshman place at 113 and 120 was the biggest reason we finished fourth as a team,” Presler said. Cole was up-and-down early in the year, but the last couple weeks he’s really come on strong. He’s wrestling like it’s his last year in wrestling.”
After winning his first two matches, freshman Ben Ruhr was pinned in his semifinal match, but still salvaged the fifth-place championship at 106 with an 11-8 decision over Sam Essendrup of Rogers. Fellow freshman Tommy Samson also finished fifth with an 8-0 major decision over Nolan Hentges of Cambridge-Isanti. Both wrestlers earned all-conference honorable mention honors for finishing 4-6.
Others receiving honorable mention honors: freshman Nathan Desmarias was sixth at 120, senior Jared Meyer fourth at 126, freshman Riley Habisch fourth at 138, and junior Fletcher Durand sixth at 182.
A fourth-place finish for Habisch, who came into the tournament with a record of 22-3, wasn’t as disappointing as some would think.
“That was probably the deepest weight class in the conference,” Presler said. “For a returning state entrant to finish fourth tells you something about his competition.”
Two-time defending state champion Mitchell McKee of STMA won the 138 weight class. McKee pinned No. 10 ranked Mason Hall of St. Francis, who earlier defeated Habisch 6-5 by decision in the semifinals. Habisch was eventually pinned in 1:42 in the third-place match by Princeton’s Tim Bialka.
On top of improving four spots in the standings, the Bison improved on last year’s individual performances where they placed two all-conference wrestlers a year ago in Treptau and Hunter Durand, and five made honorable mention.
Prior to the conference tourney, Buffalo split a pair of duals held Thursday, Jan. 28 at the Wayzata Quadrangular.
The Bison opened with an all-important 43-25 victory over section rival Wayzata and concluded with a 48-27 loss to Eden Prairie.
“We wrestled pretty well,” Presler said. “We lost to Maple Grove – a section team – earlier in the year, so that was a big win over Wayzata for section seeding. Eden Prairie is tough, but we didn’t wrestle as well as we could have coming off an emotional win the match before. No excuses though, it’s a good learning experience.”
Buffalo 43, Wayzata 25
(Thursday, Jan. 28 at Wayzata)
Individual Results (team scoring):
106: Ben Ruhr (B) 8-0 major decision (4-0) over Cael Swenson (W); 113: Tommy Samson (B) 15-0 techincal fall (9-0) over Royce Hogue (W); 120: Nathan DesMarais (B) 4-3 decision (12-0) over Cayden Homme (W); 126: Jared Meyer (B) 14-6 major decision (16-0) over Viere Szabo (W); 132: Tim Gilseth (W) 7-3 decision (16-3) over Johnny Gannon (B); 138: Riley Habisch (B) fall 4:56 (22-3) over John Spolar (W); 145: Caleb Drews (B) 5-3 decision, OT, (25-3) over David Couri (W); 152: Cole Scherber (B) fall 0:47 (31-3) over Peter Ojeda (W); 160: Dan Herda (W) 12-3 major decision (31-7) over Josh Anderson (B); 170: Andrew Kovach (W) fall 3:11 (31-13) over Fletcher Durand (B); 182: Jacob Scherber (B) fall 3:49 (37-13) over Calem Eugene (W); 195: Adam Treptau (B) fall 3:38 (43-13) over Jamani Buckner (W); 220: Corrie King (W) forfeit win (43-19); 285: Bryson Wilkins (W) fall 1:05 over (43-25) Seamus Filkins (B).
Eden Prairie 48, Buffalo 27
(Thursday, Jan. 28 at Wayzata)
Individual Results (team scoring):
106: Azi Rankins (EP) Ben Ruhr (B) 9-4 decision (3-0) over Ben Ruhr (B); 113: Ethan Devore (EP) fall 5:12 (9-0) over Tommy Samson (B); 120: Jahsa Rankins (EP) fall 3:50 (15-0) over Nathan DesMarais (B); 126: Jared Meyer (B) fall 0:28 (15-6) over Jordan Todd (EP); 132: JJ Veytia (EP) fall 1:10 (21-6) over Johnny Gannon (B); 138: Riley Habisch (B) fall 1:34 (21-12) over Xander Falkenstein (EP); 145: Caleb Drews 5-3 decision (21-15) over Justin Craswell (EP); 152: Ben Matsui (EP) 7-5 decision (24-15) over Josh Anderson (B); 160: Quentin Matsui (EP) forfeit win (30-15); 170: Jacob Scherber (B) forfeit win (30-21); 182: Sam Horn (EP) fall 2:57 (36-21) over Fletcher Durand (B); 195: Adam Treptau (B) fall 1:59 (36-27) over Ben Westerberg (EP); 220: Guy Farmer (EP) forfeit win (42-27); 285: Josh Reinke (EP) fall 1:36 (48-27) over Seamus Filkins (B).
Mississippi 8 Championships
(Friday, Jan. 29 at STMA)
Team scoring: 1. St. Michael-Albertville 302; 2. St. Francis 183.5; 3. Cambridge-Isanti 170.5; 4. Buffalo 140; 5. Princeton 136.5; 6. Monticello 113.5; 7. Big Lake 100; 8. Chisago Lakes 93.5; 9. Rogers 89.5; 10. North Branch 10.
*Top 1-3 = All Conference
*Top 4-6 = Honorable Mention
106: 1. Patrick McKee (STMA); 2. Tanner Kunshier, (SF); 3. Jordan Driscoll (CI); 4. Kyle Boeke (P); 5. Ben Ruhr (B); 6. Sam Essendrup (R).
113: 1. Zach Nygaard (STMA); 2. Isaiah Sistrunk (CL); 3. Zach Bonte (SF); 4. Vince Dailey (BL); 5. Tommy Samson (B); 6. Nolan Hentges (CI).
120: 1. Tate Torgerson (CI); 2. Bret Wilson (R); 3. Derrick Kluge (CL); 4. Zac Schoen (STMA); 5. Coleton Petrucci (SF); 6. Nathan DesMarais (B).
126: 1. Mitchell Wilson (SF); 2. Ben Morris (BL); 3. Carsten Scherber (M); 4. Jared Meyer (B); 5. Zach Dehmer (STMA); 6. Trae Torgerson (CI).
132: 1. Jack Bourgeois (M); 2. Monty Fredriksen (CI); 3. Charlie DesMarais (B); 4. Cody Schoen (STMA); 5. Jake Born (R); 6. Heath Foster (BL).
138: 1. Mitchell McKee (STMA); 2. Mason Hall (SF); 3. Tim Bialka (SF); 4. Riley Habisch (B); 5. Caleb Juhl (BL); 6. Andrew Mergen (M).
145: 1. Luke Lipinski (SF); 2. Jessie McClay (P); 3. Wyatt Bice (STMA); 4. Martin Putbrese (CI); 5. Joe Morris (BL); 6. Cooper Hanson (M). Buffalo: Caleb Drews 0-2.
152: 1. Jake Allar (STMA); 2. Ryan Stenson (CL); 3. Cole Scherber (B); 4. Anthony Hoglund (SF); 5. Kaleb Bucks (SF); 6. Sam Barthel (P).
160: 1. Donnie Leuer (STMA); 2. Tony Struntz (SF); 3. Preston Burch (P); 4. Alex Blake (BL); 5. Luke Rambow (CI); 6. Devon Gaber (M). Buffalo: Open.
170: 1. Jacob Scherber (B); 2. Cole Sixberry (SF); 3. Cole Kirpach; 4. Garrett Ailts (STMA); 5. Matt Baloun (M); 6. Andrew Pauly (CI).
182: 1. Lucas Jeske (STMA); 2. Nathan Hellman (P); 3. Drake Frikken (CI); 4. Kyle Nathan (M); 5. Tim Wettenkamp (SF); 6. Fletcher Durand (B).
195: 1. Evan Ronsen (STMA); 2 Adam Treptau (B); 3. Kyle Schoenecker (CL); 4. Jake Olson (CI); 5. Zac Aanerud (R); 6. Justin Zahner (P).
220: 1. Evan Foster (STMA); 2. Brent Chambers (P); 3. Jakob Thompson (M); 4. Adam Klick (CL); 5. Dominic Skawiniak (R); 6. Jett Serie (CI). Buffalo: Open.
285: 1. Andrew Piehl (R); 2. Max Jensen (STMA); 3. Will Flemister (SF); 4. Donavan Lill (M); 5. Colton Hellman (P); 6. Bailey Adams (NB). Buffalo: Seamus Filkins 0-2.
Bison fight hard in loss at Waconia; streak hits eight
By Rob LaPlante
The Buffalo boys’ basketball team has shown flashes they can play with any team in the state.
A prime example came in the Knights-Bison Holiday Classic where they enjoyed a six-point halftime advantage, only to lose 71-46 at home on Dec. 30 against undefeated and No. 3-ranked Osseo (21-0).
Buffalo’s most recent home loss provided a similar script. The Bison held a 36-27 halftime lead Friday, Jan. 29 at home against Chisago Lakes. But not even the hot-hand of senior guard Dusty Willert, who scored his game-high 19 points all in the opening 18 minutes, could prevent another second-half meltdown that led to a 66-52 defeat.
“That’s been the story of our season,” said senior guard Matt Monplaisir, who scored seven of Buffalo’s 16 points in the final 18 minutes. “We either start off really strong and other teams put up pressure in the second half and we can’t handle the pressure; or we start off really poorly and we have to fight our way back and it’s just too much.”
It took Chisago Lakes only three minutes in the second half to trim a nine-point deficit down to two. The Wildcats took the lead for good when Buffalo was stuck on 41 for nearly six minutes.
“They imposed their will on us to start the second half, and we let them,” said Bison head coach Nick Guida. “You can see it physically happen to us in in our body language. Our faces and our shoulders leave us. We have to figure it out.”
Ironically, in a game where senior guard Dylan Rohlin returned to the lineup after a six-game absence with a concussion, Buffalo’s injury woes continued when both Willert and junior guard Mitch Gabrelcik left the game in the second half.
Willert suffered a knee injury and Gabrelcik was forced to exit after taking a knee to the head on a scramble for a loose ball.
Despite the return of Rohlin, who was held to only spot duty, the Bison were already without the services of senior forward Jonny Miller and junior forward Andrew Johnson.
“That’s where we are right now,” Guida said. “A couple weeks ago we played a real good Orono team. We are right there with them in the second half, but we had five of our top-10 rotational guys in street clothes. It’s hard to get any sort of momentum when the lineup is in a constant flux.”
Along with the injuries and inconsistent play, what is most puzzling to Guida is the fact his squad has proven that more than one man can carry the load.
Eight different players have scored at least 10 points in a game this season, and seven different players have led the team in scoring.
“What I would expect more of, is everybody performing at a high level,” Guida said. “It’s been one here, one there. We need to consistently put five guys on the floor and bring guys off the bench that will put out at the varsity level. They are all capable of doing it, just not consistently as a team, together.”
After a 3-1 start in conference play, Buffalo’s loss to the Wildcats dropped them into a two-way tie with Princeton for eighth place in the Mississippi 8 standings.
With both Willert and Gabrelcik sidelined with injuries, Buffalo still managed a way to hang the entire game with the sixth-ranked team in Class 3A.
Three Bison players finished with double figures in scoring, led by junior Brytan Matzke with 15 points. Seniors Brandon Weber and Thomas Bean each scored 12.
Key free throws down the stretch by Waconia’s Joey Kortuem, who finished with 28 points, proved to be the difference.
Despite the loss and the record, Montplaisir is hopeful that a late surge could lead to a strong finish to the season.
“We have nothing to lose,” Montplaisir said. “We’re going out and trying to play hard. If we put together a full game, we can compete with anyone.”
Chisago Lakes 66, Buffalo 52
(Friday, Jan. 29 at Buffalo)
Wildcats 27 39 - 66
Bison 36 16 - 52
Wildcats (66): Carter Duncan 17; Trevin Nelson 17; Dylan Wood 14; Thomas Gillach 5; Arran Hickcox 5; Ethan Hickcox 4; Matt Mohr 2; Vaughn Strenke 2.
Bison (52): Dusty Willert 19; Mitch Gabrelcik 9; Thomas Bean 8 (7 rebounds); Matt Montplaisir 7 (4 assists); Noah Evans 5 (6 rebounds); Brytan Matzke 2; Drew Russell 2.
Waconia 65, Buffalo 61
(Saturday, Jan. 30 at Waconia)
Bison 19 42 - 61
Wildcats 24 41 - 65
Bison (61): Brytan Matzke 15 (3 assists); Thomas Bean 12 (4 rebounds); Brandon Weber 12; Noah Evans 8; Dylan Rohlin 8 (2 steals); Matt Montplaisir 5; Isaac Noble 1.
Wildcats (65): Joey Kortuem 28; Josh Rands 15; Jordan Notch 12; Tommy Cravens 4; Nick Fulford 4; Connor Schultz 2.
Crazy year continues for Bison swim/dive team
By Rob LaPlante
The crazy season just got crazier for the Buffalo boys’ swim/dive team.
The final dual meet scheduled for Tuesday, Feb. 2 at home against Orono was postponed due to weather related issues.
“It’s really a bummer,” said Buffalo head coach Pam Brophy. “It was supposed to be senior night, parent night, and pink-out night. We had Jimmy John’s sandwiches lined up and a big cake ordered.”
After opening the season with six straight road meets, pool issues at Buffalo Community Middle School forced the Jan. 16 Buffalo Invite to be relocated to Monticello.
The swimmers have since returned to BCMS pool, but diving board issues have forced the Bison’s four divers to practice each day at Becker High School. In Buffalo’s most recent home meet Jan. 21 against Monticello, the divers once again competed the six-dive event at Monticello Middle School.
“I told the kids, this season has been a good lesson in resiliency,” Brophy said. “We’ve had a lot of different challenges this season, but the boys have really kept a positive outlook.”
Tuesday’s scheduled non-conference home meet with Orono would have had the divers competing their event at Orono High School. Brophy was not sure (as of Tuesday) if the Spartans will be able to reschedule the meet, but she did mention that if they don’t, the team will still plan something to honor their seniors.
Through all the turmoil, which also included the tragic news early in the season of the sudden passing of senior captain CJ Tuchenhagen’s mother, the Bison still were on pace to tie last year’s record-breaking season for dual wins.
Buffalo improved to 5-2 in duals with a 103-81 road win Thursday, Jan. 28 at Princeton.
“The boys swam and dove well, and took charge of the meet from the opening event,” Brophy said. “This is especially impressive at this time of the season when we are building up yardage. Plus, we still had several kids out of the lineup with illness or injury.”
The Bison set two Princeton pool records that meet, highlighted by junior Josh Muntifering’s first-place time of 2:02.54 in the 200 individual medley. He broke a 29-year record that stood since 1987. Muntifering also finished first in the 100 butterfly in 55.90.
Sophomore Charlie Bean’s first-place time of 49.00 in the 100 freestyle also set a Tiger pool record. Earlier this season, Bean also broke the St. Michael-Albertville Middle School East pool record in 47.61. Bean also finished the Princeton meet first in the 50 freestyle in 22.84.
Buffalo had first-place times in 9 of the first 11 events, before clinching the meet at the conclusion of the 100 breaststroke. Freshman Carter Barton was first in a time of 1:11.19.
“Carter is another athlete we can utilize in a variety of events, depending on where he is needed to help the team,” Brophy said.
Barton finished a distant second (2:18.65) behind Muntifering in the individual medley event.
Bison divers took three of the top five scores with junior Hunter Brings finishing first at 260.70. Junior Josh Skarin was second at 190.25 and eighth-grader Quincy Kabe was fifth at 142.25.
Both Skarin and Kabe’s times were personal records.
“The divers continue to rack up big points for us,” Brophy said. “It will be fun to see how they do at sections, as they all are steadily improving, learning new dives, and fine-tuning their 11-dive lists for post-season competition.”
Also setting PRs were senior Noah Butler’s second-place time of 54.58 in the 100 freestyle, and junior Ramon Vega’s fifth-place time of 25.88 in the 50 freestyle.
“All in all, it was an evening of good performances from a variety of athletes,” Brophy said. “Taking down two pool records were an added bonus for Josh and Charlie.”
Pending the Orono dual meet, Buffalo varsity will be off until the Section 8AA Tournament held Feb. 26-27 at Elk River. The junior varsity squad will participate in the conference championships starting at 5 p.m. Friday, Feb. 5 at STMA Middle School East.
Buffalo 103, Princeton 81
(Thursday, Jan. 28 at Princeton)
Individual results (scoring)
200 Medley Relay (8-4-2): 1. Buffalo (Noah Butler, Josh Muntifering, Ramon Vega, Charlie Bean) 1:49.50; 3. Buffalo (Marco Maffei, CJ Tuchtenhagen, Carter Barton, Triston Kosek) 1:57.65; 5. Buffalo (Max Menzemer, Wyatt Bomstad, Kolbe Charpentier, Aric Haluska) 2:06.59.
200 Freestyle (6-4-3-2-1): 1. Parker Kabe (B) 1:59.19; 2. Maffei (B) 2:03.74; 5. Menzemer (B) 2:13.24.
200 Individual Medley (6-4-3-2-1): 1. Muntifering (B) 2:02.54; 2. Barton (B) 2:18.65; 6. Charpertier (B) 2:38.57.
50 Freestyle (6-4-3-2-1): 1. Bean (B) 22.84; 4. Kosek (B) 25.04; 5. Vega (B) 25.88.
1-Meter Dive (6-4-3-2-1): 1. Hunter Brings (B) 260.70; 3. Josh Skarin (B) 190.25; 5. Quincy Kabe (B) 142.25.
100 Butterfly (6-4-3-2-1): 1. Muntifering (B) 55.90; 3. CJ Tuchtenhagen (B) 1:04.23; 4. Vega (B) 1:04.52.
100 Freestyle (6-4-3-2-1): 1. Bean (B) 49.00; 2. Butler (B) 54.58; 5. Will Bofenkamp (B) 1:00.70.
500 Freestyle (6-4-3-2-1): 2. Parker Kabe (B) 5:16.06; 3. Kosek (B) 5:43.44; 6. Menzemer (B) 6:05.85.
200 Freestyle Relay (8-4-2): 2. Buffalo (Maffei, Barton, Kosek, P. Kabe) 1:39.43; 3. Buffalo (CJ Tuchtenhagen, Brings, Matt Jurgens, Vega) 1:45.77; 5. Buffalo (Charpentier, Nick Oak, Haluska, Bomstad) 1:47.91.
100 Backstroke (6-4-3-2-1): 1. Butler (B) 1:01.03; 3. Maffei (B) 1:07.25; 5. Bofenkamp (B) 1:16.93.
100 Breaststroke (6-4-3-2-1): 1. Barton (B) 1:11.19; 4. CJ Tuchtenhagen (B) 1:18.22; 6. Bomstad (B) 1:21.64.
400 Freestyle Relay (8-4): Exhibition: Buffalo (Muntifering, Butler, P. Kabe, Bean) 3:37.41.
Buffalo loses top gymnast, but scores remain high
Bison dominate Chisago Lakes; M8 showdown with Bluejackets rescheduled
By Rob LaPlante
If there was ever a question if this year’s Bison gymnastics squad could stand up to adversity, questions were answered in a 139.975 to 126.200 home victory Thursday, Jan. 28 against Chisago Lakes.
The win improved Buffalo’s record to 7-0 in conference dual meets, but more importantly, the score of 139.975 came without one of their top all-around gymnasts. Sophomore Alex Zeiss will miss the remainder of the season after undergoing knee surgery due to a meniscus injury, which she suffered in practice.
Zeiss qualified for state a year ago in floor exercise, and continued to post scores well above nine in floor this season.
“It hurts to lose Alex as far as scores on bars and especially on floor, because she is a great jumper and can twist her tumbling like a master,” said Bison head coach Martha Driscoll-Nelson. “Her knee needed to be fixed now before it was damaged further. We feel really bad for her, because she was so excited to contribute to a team that is doing so well.”
Even without one of their top gymnasts, Buffalo still scored above its season average of 139.025 against the Wildcats. The season average ranks No. 18 in the state among Class AA schools.
“Every meet we have improved our scores a little bit,” said Bison senior Mallorie Habisch. “I think the further we have gotten into the season, the more we have all realized that we actually have a chance at winning conference and going to state.”
With such a deep lineup, Habisch is one of a number of varsity gymnasts that has competed in both varsity and junior varsity events this season.
Her score of 8.45 against the Wildcats was third best in vault. Buffalo swept the top five scores in that event with sophomore Amanda Montplaisir first at 9.100, seventh grader Madi Peters second at 8.900, senior Natalie Heuton fourth at 8.400, and sophomore Rachel Haas fifth at 8.325.
As the season has progressed, Driscoll-Nelson said some of the girls have practiced harder routines on vault, an event they have scored the lowest in.
“The vault scores improved because Amanda and Madi have been working really hard on Tsukahara vaults, which they competed for the first time against Chisago Lakes,” Driscoll-Nelson said.
Tsukahara vault is named after the Japanese five-time male gymnast Mitsuo Tsukahra. It consists of a half turn off the springboard onto the vault table, then a backwards push into a back layout.
“Most of the other girls on our team compete half vaults, which are worth a start value of 9.0, so an 8.4 is a good score on that vault,” Driscoll-Nelson said. “Because Tsukahara’s are flipping vaults, its value is more a 9.6.”
While vault has been a work in progress, floor exercise has not. The Bison remained perfect in all meets this season with a team score of 36.550 to Chisago Lakes’ 32.600. Once again, the Bison finished with the top-five routines with Peters finishing first at 9.500. Montplaisir was second at 9.300, freshman Faith Winter third at 9.00; Haas was fourth at 8.750, and Heuton fifth at 8.700.
Peters also finished first in uneven bars (9.350) and balance beam (9.000). Her all-around score of 36.750 earned her medalist honors for a fourth time this season.
Seeing a middle schooler step into the varsity lineup and succeed at a high rate brings back flashbacks for one Bison gymnast.
“Eighth grade and my senior year have been my favorite seasons of my career,” Habisch said. “The team this year has a different vibe than any other. It’s exciting to come to every practice and see what everyone is achieving. I came in with a bang and we are definitely leaving with one too.”
Habisch, along with three other gymnasts: Delany Nord, Mallory Hedden, and Heuton were honored after the meet for senior night.
“It was a great night,” Habisch said. “It really didn’t set in that it was my last home meet until I was listening to the speeches. It was really special to reflect on what a great time I have had being a part of BHS gymnastics.”
Tuesday’s conference meet on Feb. 2 at Cambridge-Isanti (7-0) was supposed to determine this year’s Mississippi 8 champion, but inclement weather postponed the showdown to Wednesday, Feb. 3 (results not available at deadline).
C-I is the defending conference champion and currently rank No. 7 in Class AA with a scoring average of 144.658. Buffalo has hit the 140 mark for the first time in 18 years when they scored a 140.90 to win the Buffalo Invite on Jan. 16.
“Cambridge will be the most exciting meet,” Habisch said. “It will be super close and everyone will be biting their nails. Win or lose, it will still be a great experience.”
Buffalo 139.975, Chisago Lakes 126.200
(Thursday, Jan. 21 at Buffalo)
Vault: 1. Amanda Montplaisir (B) 9.100; 2. Madi Peters (B) 8.900; 3. Mallorie Habisch (B) 8.450; 4. Natalie Heuton (B) 8.400; 5. Rachel Haas (B) 8.325; 6. Savannah Gorski (CL) 8.300; T7. Izzy Hindt (CL) 8.250; T7. Payton Nelson (CL) 8.250; 9. Callie Schlegel (CL) 8.150; 10. Natalie Silver (CL) 8.050. Totals: Buffalo 34.850; Chisago Lakes 32.950.
Uneven Bars: 1. Peters (B) 9.000; 2. Montplaisir (B) 8.650; 3. Heuton (B) 8.050; 4. Hindt (CL) 7.950; 5. Haas (B) 7.900; 6. Faith Winter (B) 7.750; 7. Nelson (CL) 7.450; T8. Gorski (CL) 7.175; T8. Silver (CL) 7.175; 10. Paige Bergquist (C) 6.625. Totals: Buffalo 33.600; Big Lake 29.750.
Balance Beam: 1. Peters (B) 9.350; 2. Montplaisir (B) 9.225; 3. Mya Lubben (B) 8.425; 4. Nelson (CL) 8.125; 5. Hindt (CL) 8.075; 6. Haas (B) 7.975; 7. Heuton (B) 7.700; 8. Gorski (CL) 7.550; 9. Silver (CL) 7.150; 10. Maddie Audette (CL) 6.725. Totals: Buffalo 34.975; Big Lake 30.900.
Floor Exercise: 1. Peters (B) 9.500; 2. Montplaisir (B) 9.300; 3. Winter (B) 9.000; 4. Haas (B) 8.750; 5. Heuton (B) 8.700; 6. Hindt (CL) 8.450; 7. Gorski (CL) 8.300; 8. Audette (C) 8.050; 9. Lydia Trandahl (CL) 7.800; 10. Silver (CL) 7.600. Totals: Buffalo 36.550; Big Lake 32.600.
All Around: Medalist: 1. Peters (B) 36.750; 2. Montplaisir (B) 36.275; 3. Haas (B) 32.950; 4. Heuton (B) 32.855; 5. Hindt (CL) 32.725; 6. Gorski (CL) 31.325; 7. Silver (CL) 29.975.
Bison girls lose to Skippers; hope for more playoff magic
By Rob LaPlante
The Bison girls’ hockey team is hoping last year’s magical playoff run will trickle into this season’s tournament, which begins with a 7 p.m. home game Saturday, Feb. 6 against Brainerd-Little Falls.
The regular season concluded for the Bison with a 7-3 home defeat Saturday, Jan. 30 against the state’s No. 2-ranked Minnetonka Skippers. The loss resulted in a 12-13-0 regular season record.
Despite the losing record, Buffalo went 2-1 against section opponents, and played a difficult schedule that featured 10 games against top-ranked teams. Those were enough reasons for coaches to select them as the No. 4 seed in Section 8AA. Roseau earned the top seed, followed by Sartell-Sauk Rapids, St. Cloud, Buffalo, Brainerd-Little Falls, River Lakes, North Wright County, Moorhead, and Bemidji.
“The seeding was pretty open this year,” said Bison head coach Ray Dahlof. “I could have seen us land anywhere from 3-6. There are some teams in the section with 15 wins. We are at 12, but nobody in the section has played a schedule like we have.”
Buffalo went 1-9 this season against ranked opponents and 11-4 against all other teams. Even though the scoreboard resulted in a lopsided defeat last Saturday to Minnetonka, senior captain Allison Roethke thinks that game built tons of momentum as they prepare this week for Brainerd-Little Falls.
“None of us after the loss had our heads down,” Roethke said. “I don’t think the score reflected the game at all. We proved we could skate with them.”
The first period against the high-powered Skippers ended even in goals and Minnetonka held a slim 11-9 edge in shots. Junior Rylan Bistodeau’s goal at 12:10 tied the score 1-1.
“I felt the first period was one of our better ones of the year,” Dahlof said.
The Skippers took command thanks to a three-goal outburst in period two. They extended their lead to 5-1 early in period three on a power play goal at the 5:12 mark. Buffalo trimmed Minnetonka’s lead to 5-3 with 7:10 remaining on two straight goals from Bistodeau and junior Hannah Tormanen.
Minnetonka senior Presley Norby, a University of Wisconsin recruit, would seal the deal scoring both on the power play and at even-strength.
Norby, and senior forward Kippin Keller, a University of Minnesota recruit, were two of three Division-I recruits for Minnetonka. Both are also a finalist for the Ms. Hockey award, which will be announced later this month during the state tournament.
“They throw that many Division-I kids on the power play, they are tough to defend,” Dahlof said. “They move the puck well and bury their chances. Certainly not a team you want to go to the penalty box against.”
Unlike a year ago, where Buffalo finished the regular season on a six-game winning streak and claimed the No. 2 seed in the section, the road to St. Paul this year likely will require a few more miles than years past.
Saturday’s winner most likely will travel to No. 1 seed Roseau for a 7 p.m. semifinal contest on Tuesday, Feb. 9.
The Bison and Rams have squared off the previous two seasons in the section finals. Roseau advanced to state in 2014 with a 3-0 win. Buffalo knocked off the Rams 4-2 a year ago in Brainerd.
The last time Buffalo and Brainerd (14-11 overall) faced each other resulted in a 14-0 Bison victory Nov. 23, 2012. The Flying Warriors are led this season in scoring by junior forward Allyson Smith, who has 39 points (24 goals, 15 assists). Freshman Olivia King has posted four shutouts and has started all 25 games in goal. She has a 2.48 goals against average and .911 save percentage.
Buffalo is led by senior Abby Halluska’s 46 points (28 goals, 18 assists). Junior Taylor Thompson and Payton Rudiger each have 29 points. If Buffalo is to make a run, they will need one of its two goalies to get hot. Last year’s playoff run was sparked in goal by departed senior Kendra Carlson, who posted two shutouts and allowed only two goals in three section games.
Monsrud and sophomore Karly Schmidt have split the duties all season in goal. Monsrud in 5-6-0 with a 2.42 GAA and .894 save percentage. Schmidt is 7-7-0 with a 3.66 GAA and .847 save percentage.
No matter who is in goal, Roethke is sure the experience from last year will motivate her and her teammates for another playoff run.
“Once we get on that ice Saturday, we’re all going to want that same feeling back as last year,” Roethke said. “For all the girls that experienced that a year ago, it was indescribable. We’re going to want that same feeling back.”
Minnetonka 7, Buffalo 3
(Saturday, Jan. 30 at Buffalo)
Skippers 1 3 3 - 7
Bison 1 0 2 - 3
First period: M -- Bella Bertogliat 6:53; B -- Rylan Bistodeau (Abby Halluska, Allison Roethke) 12:10.
Second period: M -- Michaela Rothstein (Annelise Rice) 1:14; M -- Katie McMillan (Presley Norby, Kippin Keller) 2:58; M -- Emma Bigham (Norby), 9:30.
Third period: M -- Bigham (McMillian, Rice), PP, 5:12; B -- Hannah Tormanen (Leighton McAlpin, Paige James) 5:32; B -- Bistodeau (Taylor Thompson, Payton Rudiger) 9:50; M -- Norby (McMillan) PP, 11:35; M -- Norby (Keller, Kailey Langefels) 13:39.
Goalies: M – Tatyana Delaittre (win) 26 shots, 23 saves; B -- Anna Monsrud (loss) 23 shots, 19 saves; B -- Karly Schmidt 13 shots, 10 saves. Shots: M – 11-16-9 – 36; B – 9-7-10 – 26. Power Plays: M – 2-2; B – 0-1.
Varsity KB team wins Apollo Invite
By Doug Voerding
It’s another season of dominance and a season of improvement for the Buffalo High School Knowledge Bowl team.
At last Saturday’s meet at St. Cloud Apollo, Varsity Team One competed in the top room for all four oral rounds topping the competition with 116 points and beating second place Sartell by seven points.
Team One of Sam Hamann, Sophie Lefebvre, Jacob Nosbush, and Travis Wolden started in second place with a written round score of 51, one point behind Sartell. Outscoring Sartell by three in the first oral round, the team fell back to second place after being outscored by Sartell in the second oral round. Strong scores of 17 and 13 in the final two oral rounds gave the team its first place finish.
Team One took first place last week at Big Lake with 110 points, but improved this past week with the score of 116.
Coach Lacy Schramm said, “I wasn’t sure how Varsity One would do in this competition. All the members of the team are fairly quiet, mellow people, and they are up against teams that have energetic, speedy buzzing styles. However, their combination of knowledge and easy-going style worked to their advantage today. They seem to understand each other so well that they are buzzing at appropriate times, even if they aren’t always first.”
Also improving is Varsity Team Two of Ryan Dirks, Rachel Lauer, Andrew Scherber, and Adriana Weise -- scoring 88.5 points for an 11th place finish at Apollo. At Big Lake on Jan. 23, the team took 14th place with 83.5 points.
Varsity Team Four of Anna Fitzgerald, Tyler Dirks, Max Nagel, Ryan Mohler, and Ethan Roadfeldt was right behind Team Two and took 12th place with a score of 85.
Varsity Team Three improved from 65 points and 39th at Big Lake to 79 points and 22nd at Apollo. The team consists of Abbie Kunze, Ottiti Mayo, Kathleen Tierney, and Brian Irwin.
Said Schramm, “Varsity Two and Four are both doing well. Varsity Three is still working on buzzing speed. They get a lot of “imaginary points” and are starting to get frustrated.”
Overall, Buffalo had all four varsity teams above the top half of the competition. Teams from none of the other 23 schools at the meet did nearly as well.
On the junior varsity side where teams competed directly with varsity teams, Buffalo’s JV Team One took second place and 14th overall. The team of Ben Dismang, Kris Hamann, Tucker MacCallum, and Lena Preugschas began the meet with 36 points in the written round and scored 13, 7, 16, and 11 points in each of the four oral rounds.
Buffalo JV Team Two of Harrison Bjorback, Jonah Forsyth, Jayde Hoppe, and Heidi Peterson took 12th place with a score of 67.
JV Team Three of Holly Durham, Ariana Lilijedahl, Sofia Nikulam, and Emma Staut with 59 points nearly tied with Team Four of Ryan Knutson, Carter Martin, and Noah Zimmerman, who scored 58 points. JV Team Five of Erin Bowers, Shannon Bowers, Maddie Carlson, Allison Hargreaves, and Rachel Peterson scored 56 points.
Schramm added, “The meet went very well overall. The varsity competition is very strong, so Team One will need to keep working on this the rest of the season. Junior Varsity Team One did very well, even though half of their team was absent. We filled in the team, and they were very successful.
We are still shuffling the JV teams around a bit, but everyone is having fun on the team. Now they just need to learn how to work together.”
The teams will travel to North Branch on Saturday.