MASON CITY — With a little head of steam early in a game, the Mohawk Hockey Club feels like it can play with anybody.
Throughout most of Saturday’s first period vs. Cedar Rapids, the teams went back and forth down the ice with good looks at the net few and far between. But a goal by the Mohawks with under three minutes to play in the period turned out to be just the jolt they needed to lift them to a 3-1 victory.
“Everyone just worked hard,” senior Jaxon Jones said. “We’ve been coming off a little slow in the first period usually, and this game we played all three periods strong. That first goal just motivated us and pushed us the rest of the game.”
And the player who started it all – Bryce Butler.
With a ton of traffic flooding in front of the net, Butler was able to push a puck past Cedar Rapids Eric Winousky to put the Mohawks up 1-0 at the 14:13 mark in the first period. The goal jump-started a Mohawk team which remained relentless throughout on both sides of the puck.
The Mohawks added another goal late in the second on Zach Jimenez’s first of the game off a deflection on a shot from the point by Jones.
Right out of the second intermission, Jimenez tallied his second of the contest with a goal 17 seconds into the third, and the Mohawks eased their way into a key victory which moved them over Cedar Rapids in the standings.
The only defensive breakdown came with 15 seconds to play as the Roughriders scored on the power play to end the shutout.
“We did very well in the defensive zone,” co-coach Rich Gores said. “They were trying to take a lot of shots from the outside and we kept the shots from outside. We got rebounds and got it cleared out of there, and we kept them from driving to the net for those shots as well.”
Mohawk Hockey Club goalie Erik McHenry just missed out on that shutout, but still played well enough all game to keep the Roughriders at bay. McHenry finished with 24 saves on 25 shots.
“We have a lot of faith in Erik. He plays really big in big games and overall, he’s just a great goalie for us,” Jones said.
The Mohawks are back in action today at 11 a.m. against Cedar Rapids once again.