The Minneapolis Wheat Kings routed the Eastside Freeze 16-9 on Aug. 6, at the Hastings Civic Arena. Minneapolis went on an 8-0 run in the second period and destroyed any momentum the Freeze gained in the first period.
The loss marked the Freeze’s second consecutive loss to the Wheat Kings, and its third loss of the season. With Eastside sitting at 1-3, the last two games will be crucial in terms of having the opportunity to make a run at the national tournament in October. Minneapolis clinched first place in the Minnesota division with a 4-0 record.
The game started tightly contested before that unexpected 8-0 run in the second by Minneapolis. The Wheat Kings had a quick jump like game one, scoring three unanswered goals to start the first. However, Eastside dug back to tie the game at three by the end of the period.
Forward Giuseppe Palermo found the first goal of the game for the Freeze, thanks to assists from Joey Saba and Will McKinney. Palermo led the team with eight points (four goals, four assists). Forwards Grant Glazier and McKinney scored the second and third goals for Eastside. Emmitt McFarlane and Palermo helped set up both goals.
There’s not much to say about the second period from Eastside’s perspective, other than hoping the barrage of goals would stop. Minneapolis out shot the Freeze 20-8. The Freeze couldn’t find much offense in the second.
Eastside outscored Minneapolis 6-5 in the third period. The Freeze finished the game on a 5-1 run to put a dent in the deficit. Three goals came from Palermo, along with one from McKinney and Adam Porter. Newly-acquired Colin Hoch, from the Lakeville Lumberjacks, ripped a heater from the middle of the rink to find the back of the net. Palermo led the period with two assists. Saba, goalie Brandon Delyea, McKinney and Glazier all got in the apple column.
Delyea came up clutch a handful of times, especially when he faced lone breaks from Minneapolis. Delyea set the tone for the defense early on and stopped 16 of 19 shots in the first period. He finished the night with 35 saves off of 51 shots.
Marcus Fiori and Palermo handled the faceoffs for Eastside. Fiori went 4-3 and Palermo went 9-5 at the “X”.
Round three between Eastside and Minneapolis will come Saturday Aug. 10 at the Northeast Ice Arena in Minneapolis at 7:30 p.m. The Freeze will wrap up the regular season against the Lumberjacks Aug. 17 in Hastings.