The student news site of Benilde-St. Margaret's School in St. Louis Park, MN

Knight Errant

The student news site of Benilde-St. Margaret's School in St. Louis Park, MN

Knight Errant

The student news site of Benilde-St. Margaret's School in St. Louis Park, MN

Knight Errant

Red Knights edge out Royals, fall to Skippers

This varsity hockey season has been one defined by youth––with four freshmen and five sophomores skating regularly for the Red Knights, this years’ team is without question one of the youngest in head coach Ken Pauly’s seventeen years with BSM. And with the treacherous Section 6AA playoffs ahead of them, this group of gifted young skaters would be forced to share the burden with a nucleus of senior talent––the Red Knights very clearly had no time for growing pains.


As the fourth seed in the Section, the Red Knights first squared off with the fifth-seeded Hopkins Royals, an unranked, yet very dangerous team. With one of the state’s top net-minders, senior Alex Fons, and a potent first line, the Royals were more than capable of pulling off an upset at the St. Louis Park Rec Center on February 25.

And for the first two periods, an upset seemed inevitable. Hopkins jumped out to three and two-goal leads at different points during the game, and it took a last-minute goal by sophomore forward Christian Horn––not to mention 3 goals from his freshman linemate Grant Besse––for the Red Knights to slip past the Royals 6-5.

The first period saw the Red Knights quickly fall behind 3-0, as Hopkins capitalized on three of their first 10 shots on goaltender Jacob Meyers. “We got caught twice standing and watching,” said head coach Ken Pauly. “The word I would use to describe our first period is ‘sleepy.'”

The Red Knights came roaring back in the second period, with two goals by Besse and one from junior Patrick Steinhauser erasing the three-goal deficit. Hopkins quickly regained the lead, however, with two goals to conclude the turbulent period.

In the third period, the Red Knights slowly began to chip away at the Royals’ lead, peppering Fons with 32 shots and decidedly controlling the game. Senior captain Brett Patterson had one and Besse added another, but it took Horn’s seventeenth goal of the season with 29 seconds remaining to propel the Red Knights to a 6-5 victory.

For the Red Knights, their youth was the deciding factor in the game, with Besse scoring his 28th, 29th, and 30th goals of the season to secure the victory. “Obviously [Besse] stands out, but Patrick Graham is up to the challenge at defense and T.J. Moore continues to improve,” said Coach Pauly. “They all played like upperclassmen.”

For the Royals, Fons played spectacularly in goal, turning away 52 Red Knight shots, including 29 in the third period. Meyers, in comparison, struggled early in the contest, but rebounded to make 25 saves. “The good thing about [Meyers] is that when it’s not his night, he continues to battle,” said Pauly. “He made saves when we needed him to.”


The Red Knights road to State next led to Bloomington Ice Garden on February 27, where the number one seed Minnetonka Skippers awaited them. Led by four Division I-recruits, as well as a stable of other top-end players, Minnetonka had been the state’s top-ranked team for the entire season, and with good reason––the Skippers have so far compiled a record of 23-1-2 and outscored their opponents by an average of 5 goals per game.

The Skippers’ deep, talented team was on full display in Saturday’s contest, where, despite a 24-save performance by Meyers, the Red Knights fell to Minnetonka 3-1.

The two teams skated to a scoreless first period, although the Red Knights had several quality scoring opportunities and accumulated 7 shots on goal. “We started pretty well,” said Pauly. “We were getting good shots on [Tonka goalie Jim Kruger].”

The second period saw the Skippers jump out to a 2-0 lead, with goals coming at the very beginning and end of the period. “Their first goal turned the momentum, it freaked us out,” said Pauly. “It caused a suspended mental state that cost us.”

A sliver of hope presented itself in the third period, however, as the Skippers’ Connor Ryan was whistled for a five-minute penalty for checking from behind in the period’s opening minutes. But the Red Knights failed to create any quality scoring opportunities, and the Skippers survived the major penalty unscathed. “We never really ran our powerplay, we just kind of freelanced” said Pauly. “[Minnetonka has] four kids who could very well be killing penalties in the WCHA next year, though.”

The Skippers’ Max Gardiner shortly thereafter added another power-play goal to make it 3-0, and, despite a goal from Steinhauser with 2:40 remaining in the game, the Red Knights could not find a way to surmount the Skippers’ lead.

Overall, however, Pauly was satisfied with his team’s performance against the top-ranked Skippers and their stifling defense. “The thing with Tonka is that they have three great defensemen,” said Pauly. “We played well, but they were just better.”

Season Wrap-up

The Red Knights finished the season 17-7-3, finishing third in the inaugural St. Louis Park Holiday Invitational and earning their fifth consecutive North Suburban Conference title. The team will lose eight seniors to graduation, most of whom will have played their last competitive hockey game in Saturday’s loss.

For others, however, there is still much in store for their hockey careers––seniors Brett Patterson, Jacob Meyers, and Will Nelson will likely play in the United States Hockey League next season, according to Pauly, with all hoping to garner a D-I college scholarship.

And for this group of young, talented players that remains, Pauly has exceedingly high hopes. With a season of experience and maturation, these players will undoubtedly be looked upon to lead the Red Knights for years to come, to regain and maintain the glory of years past. “The fact is the core of our talent was ninth and tenth graders,” said Pauly. “And so what’s the point if they’re not going to excel from here?”

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The student news site of Benilde-St. Margaret's School in St. Louis Park, MN
Red Knights edge out Royals, fall to Skippers