By Shane Frederick
Free Press Staff Writer
Ricky Cano-Hernandez admits the conditions were pretty miserable on Tuesday afternoon.
In fact, the Mankato East sophomore was thinking about the 45-degree temperature and the 25 mph winds that made it feel even colder when he saw the ball coming toward him.
“It was floating right to the net, but it was going out,” Cano-Hernandez said. “I just tried to get it in there.”
The perfect header off Christian Eiden’s ball was the third goal for the Cougars boys soccer team in what would end up as a 6-0 victory over Glencoe-Silver Lake in the first round of the Section 2A tournament at the Anderson fields.
“It was crazy,” Cano-Hernandez said. “It was so cold, and the wind was coming at me.”
Cano-Hernandez also assisted on a goal, continuing what’s been a strong late-season surge for the midfielder.
“He’s really played just top notch for us over the second half of the season,” East coach Jerrad Aspelund said. “He had zero points in the first half of the season and probably played every other game. In the second half he’s probably been our leading scorer. He has a point in every game the last six games.”
It was probably a good thing that Cano-Hernandez was thinking about the wind before that goal.
The Panthers won the coin flip and decided to defer so they’d have the wind after halftime. But third-seeded East took advantage of the conditions and scored five times in the first 40 minutes.
Ben Schwartz got the scoring started in the game’s fourth minute, and Abdismad Ibrahim made it 2-0 about 12 minutes later.
By the game’s 22nd minute, it was 4-0, and Cano-Hernandez was involved in the next two goals. In a span of 3 1/2 minutes, he scored one and took the corner kick on the next, setting up Mohamud Ahmed’s goal.
An own goal by Glencoe-Silver Lake put East up 5-0.
Even without the wind in the second half, East put on the pressure. Eiden’s successful penalty kick made it 6-0.
East outshot the Panthers 14-5. Nick Olson and Derek Helms shared the shutout, something the coach was hoping to see.
“I’m very happy with our effort,” Aspelund said. “I would have taken 1-nil. We don’t have to score many goals.”
The Cougars will host sixth-seeded Southwest Minnesota Christian on Saturday at a time to be determined.