The Richfield boys hockey team opened the season with a 5-3 win over Minnehaha Academy after a trio of goals by forward Tyler Martinez.
"I was feeling pretty good tonight," Martinez said. "I had some oatmeal before the game."
The oatmeal came one night after birthday cake for the now 17-year-old junior, who recorded his first-ever hat trick. The trio of goals went along with two goals from center Mick Dhein as the Spartans bounced back from a 3-1 second period deficit to win a two-goal victory.
"It feels great," Martinez said of the victory. "We've been working hard in practice and it was good to win in front of a lot of our fans that were here tonight."
Even though the game was played at Minnehaha's home rink in south Minneapolis, it had a decidedly Richfield feel as Spartans alumnus and former Minnesota Wild player Darby Hendrickson dropped the ceremonial first puck to open the 2010-11 season for both teams.
"That was pretty cool," Martinez said. "He's practiced with us before."
From there, the shots advantage went to Richfield—but the first goal of the night went to the hosts, who scored at 5:31 to take the initial edge.
Richfield fought back to tie the game at 1-1 as Dhein scored his team's first goal of the season at 16:04 of the first period and the two teams went into the first intermission tied at 1-1.
Minnehaha took the lead again at 2:40 of the second period and then added another goal at 6:17 to lead 3-1.
"It was a battle tonight," said John Christ, Richfield head coach. "We out-shot them, but their goaltender was having a great night."
Although the Spartans were down by two half way through the second period, they didn't give up and Martinez scored his first of three goals at 11:56. He then scored his second goal with just 10.8 seconds remaining in the period, which was assisted by Patrick Peterson.
"Our top line of Tyler, Mick, Jon (Hauri) along with Peterson had a great night tonight," Christ said. "Our bench was short and we were in penalty trouble, so those guys logged a lot of minutes tonight."
Dhein gave the Spartans the lead for good with another goal assisted by Peterson at 9:22 of the third period before Martinez put the game with his third goal of the game assisted by both Dhein and Peterson at 14:05.
"Our guys showed a lot of character tonight," Christ said. "We were behind the 8-ball early, but these guys battled back for a great win—a road win, which we don't get a lot of."
With their first victory secured, the Spartans return to the Richfield Ice Arena for the team's home opener against St. Paul Academy on Saturday night.
"St. Paul Academy will be another tough team to play," Christ said.
The game is scheduled for 3:30 p.m., following a 12:30 p.m. start for the Richfield girls hockey team in its game against visiting St. Louis Park.