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Marlins fall to Oahe in state opener

Mitchell’s Jacob Thill, left, battles Oahe’s Will Gordon for the puck during the third period of a quarterfinal game at the state boys’ varsity hockey tournament Friday morning in Brookings. Also pictured is Mitchell’s Alex Thill (26). (Brooke Cersosimo/Republic)

BROOKINGS — The Marlins put together a winning effort in the third period of their state opener, but it was too late.

Mitchell outscored No. 3 seed Oahe 1-0 in the final period but gave up five unanswered goals in the first two periods, falling 5-1 in the opening game of the state boys’ varsity hockey tournament Friday in Brookings.

No. 6 Mitchell faces No. 7 Aberdeen at noon today in the consolation semifinals. The Marlins fell twice this season to Aberdeen.

With a win, the Marlins will play for fifth place Sunday, but with a loss, they will be eliminated from the tournament. The Marlins were knocked out after the first two days of last year’s tournament.

“If we go into (today’s) game the way we finished this game, it’s pretty good momentum for us,” Mitchell head coach John Lord said.

The Marlins’ only goal came by freshman Matt Muth on an Oahe power play in the final period, with an assist by senior Alex Thill. It was the only goal of the third period.

Lord, whose team split with Oahe in the regular season, said his team wasn’t ready to quit after the first two stanzas.

“We certainly weren’t satisfied with the first two periods and we still thought we were in the game,” Lord said. “We came out and fought hard that third period to at least try to get one good period out of the game.”

Oahe came out attacking the net in the first, outshooting Mitchell 12-8. Landon Badger scored two of the Capitals’ three first-period goals. Oahe added two more goals in the second, one coming on a power play.

Lord said his squad didn’t stick to the game plan early, which allowed Oahe to outshoot Mitchell in the contest 41-23.

“We needed to attack the puck and take time away, and as soon as they touch the puck, we needed to be on top of it,” Lord said. “We didn’t do that. It seemed like we had one guy for every forward line that was working really hard and the other two were kind of hanging back. We had one guy doing all the hard work, and it doesn’t work that way.”

Muth agreed with Lord, saying “They were moving the puck around, making passes and capitalizing on us.”

In goal for the Marlins was Tate Sutherland. The junior made 36 saves on 41 shots for a save percentage of 88.

The Capitals advance to play Sioux Falls 2 in the semifinals at 5 p.m. today.

Brooke Cersosimo
Brooke Cersosimo is The Daily Republic's sports editor.