BELOIT - Someone OK with the "a win is a win" philosophy, was probably just fine with Thursday night's game against Madison East/La Follette.
Kurt Buchs wasn't about to give back Beloit Memorial's 4-2 victory at Edwards Ice Arena.
He just wasn't overjoyed with his team's performance and he let them know about it bothnb during and afterwards.
"Tonight we played our age," Buchs said. "We played an immature game. We have a young group and they're still trying to figure it out."
Tyler Harrington scored on a rebound to give the Purple Knights (2-4-0, 1-3-0) a 1-0 lead with 8:44d remaining in the first period, but the Lakers' Inde Abresch got it back to even with 3:48 left. Perturbed by his team's uninspired play, Buchs called a timeout to fire them up. Eighteen seconds later, Abresch's slap shot made it 2-1.
"That wasn't the plan," Buchs said, shaking his head. "One of the things we want to see is us playing hard. That's something we can control. We have to move our feet, have two hands on the stick and keep it on the ice. Basic fundamental, controllable hockey and we didn't do that. We cheated, we coasted. We didn't help out. We waited for pucks instead of going and getting them. I think we showed our age."
Buchs' reminder of all that during the first intermission had the desired impact starting the second period. The Knights played their best hockey of the game, tying the score on Harrington's second goal with 14:24 left and then taking the lead on a goal by Tyler Katalin with 12:58 left and going up by two at 4-2 on a power-play goal by Sean McCarthy with 8:06 remaining.
"We came out with energy in the period and we were moving our feet," Buchs said. "We were swarming them. That was the key difference between the periods. (The Lakers) aren't better than us, but they just moved their feet in the first period. They never stopped skating. Where we coasted to pucks they got them and moved. The game is really that simple at times."
That whole age thing surfaced again soon after that as the Knights took two penalties within a minute and another after that, leaving the defense and goalie Aidan Wright to clean up the mess.
"We reverted to playing our age," Buchs said. "We got selfish at times. We waited for things to happen instead of creating things."
Wright finished with 22 saves through two periods. Jameson Flanagan came on to pitch a shutout in the third period with six saves.
"We wanted to try and get Jameson some time, too," Buchs said. "We're looking at starting him against West Bend on Tuesday. We have a long week next week. I thought he played pretty well. He had some nice stops. He overplayed a few things and I'm sure by his body language he knows what he did. It's nice having him available on the bench and I don't think anybody thinks we'll buckle with our backup going in. The guys have confidence in him."
As for the victory, well, it was a learning experience.
"If they ask themselves if they really had fun tonight I think the answer is probably no," Buchs said. "I told them it's a process of moving forward. This might be a minute step forward or maybe even a little step back, but it's important they learn from it."
• THURSDAY'S BOXSCORE: BMHS 4, EAST/LA FOLLETTE 2.
Madison East/La Follette..2 0 0 - 2
Beloit Memorial.......1 3 0 - 4
FIRST PERIOD: BM, Harrington (Cobbs, McCarthy), 8:16; E/LF, Abresch (unass.), 13:12 (sh); E/LF, Abresch (Brusoe), 14:38.
SECOND PERIOD: BM, Harrington (unassisted), 2:36; BM, Katalin (Potts, Niedfeldt), 4:02; BM, McCarthy (Evans), 7:55 (pp)
Saves - E/LF (Seifert) 25. BM (Wright 22, Flanagan 6) 28. Penalties - E/LF 8-16, BM 6-12.