In a tight, physical game that wasn’t decided until the final minute, the St. Louis Jr. Blues got past the Lindenwood-Belleville Lynx of the NAIA by the score of 3-1.
The hosts largely dominated the first period, but weren’t able to get onto the scoreboard until late, when forward Stepan Ruta (Hradec Kralove, Czechia) finished off a 3-on-1 play with a goal to put the Jr. Blues up 1-0 after 1. The second period saw the Lynx kick on with several breakaway chances, but an even better performance from Mikeal Foucher (Montreal, Quebec, Canada) allowed the Jr. Blues to hold the lead until a fourth breakaway chance in the second term, where LU-Belleville finally found the back of the net to equalize. In the third period, a new goaltender for the Lynx allowed them to keep the game knotted up at 1-1, but the Jr. Blues pressed forward, with several great chances including Zach Lodes (Ballwin, Missouri) hitting the crossbar. Finally, with 1:02 left in regular time, Joey Boccardi (St. Louis, Missouri) was able to score on a shot from the near-side faceoff circle and give the Jr. Blues a deserved lead. Dante Jones (Toronto, Ontario, Canada) added an empty-net goal shortly thereafter to ensure the win, with Foucher stopping 34 shots.
The Jr. Blues continue their exhibition campaign tonight against the Southern Illinois-Edwardsville Cougars. Game time is 7 p.m. at Affton Ice Rink.