By Shane Frederick
Free Press Staff Writer
The last two years, the Mankato West boys hockey team had its season come to a crushing end in the playoffs by Red Wing.
On Thursday night, the Scarlets made certain that it wasn’t going to happen a third year in a row.
“We finally broke the bubble,” coach Curtis Doell said after second-seeded West’s 6-3 Section 1A quarterfinal victory at All Seasons Arena.
Derek Frentz and Nick Campbell each had a five-point game in the win. Frentz finished with four goals and one assist, and Campbell had two goals and three assists.
“We’ve always hung our head, looking back at (last year’s) game (against Red Wing),” Frentz said. “We wanted to get back at them”
The Scarlets used a four-goal second period to break open the game and take a 5-1 lead into the final period.
Before that, they had to survive against a fast and physical Wingers team that outshot them 12-7 in the opening period.
“It was good for us,” Doell said. “They gave us a hard-fought hockey game, and we want to play at that level all the time. That’s what it takes to win a section tournament.”
The game was tied 1-1 after one, with Frentz ripping a shot past goalie Preston Blaney on an assist from Campbell midway through the period.
In the second, Campbell began West’s barrage, finishing off a scramble in front of the goal at 8:45. Tyler Loe and Frentz assisted.
“When it was tied 1-1, we knew the next goal would be the biggest goal of the game,” Campbell said. “We happened to get it, and we didn’t stop.”
The Scarlets cranked their pace up a few notches after that. Frentz scored a pair of goals in a span of 68 seconds to complete the hat trick and make it 4-1 at 13:23. Just 2:23 later, with 74 seconds remaining in the period, Campbell made it a four-goal advantage.
“(Frentz) took a big hit in the second period, and it must have shook something loose,” Doell said. “He went on a tear after that and (Frentz’s and Campbell’s) line started clicking. The second period, we did what we had to do.”
Red Wing’s Mitch Ramstad made it 5-2 early in the second period, but Frentz sealed the win with an empty-netter with one minute to play. The Wingers then added a late goal.
Red Wing outshot West 27-23. Scarlets goaltender Jake Spiess got the win with 24 saves.
Tyler Jutting also had two assists for the Scarlets.
West (21-5-0) advances to the section semifinals and will play third-seeded New Prague, a 3-1 winner over Faribault, at 8 p.m. Saturday at the Rochester Rec Center.