Soccer: Elk boys top Armstrong 3-1 in best effort

Joey Benz was hoisted by Adam Fordahl as the celebrated a Benz goal in the second half. Rushing up to join them was Storm Heyer (16). The three Zimmerman athletes all figured in the scoring in 3-1 win over Armstrong. (Photo by Bob Burley)

by Bruce Strand, Sports editor

Elk River-Zimmerman played its best 80 minutes of the season, by coach Tom Olson’s reckoning, and defeated the Armstrong Falcons 3-1 at home Wednesday.

Adam Fordahl, Max Riebel and Joey Benz scored for the Elks, who are a half-game out of first place in a congested Northwest Suburban Conference race.

“That’s the best we have played for a full game,” said Olson, “We were hoping the kids learned a lesson from the Osseo game and it looked like they did.”

The Elks had lost 4-3 to Osseo on Monday, snapping a four-game win streak. Osseo had four goals in one 15-minute stretch in the second half before an Elk rally came up short.

Ryan Ness (11) of the Elks jostled with Armstrong's Eric Udelhoven for the ball. (Photo by Bob Burley)

“We played the whole game today they we did the end of the Osseo game,” said Olson. “We did what we’ve been wanting to do. We moved the ball from side to side so that gaps would open up in the defense.”

After Jeremy Jin scored early for Armstrong, Fordahl tied it up with shot launched as he was sliding into the net, off a pass from Benz.

It was the first Elk goal for Fordahl, a senior who’s one of the six Zimmerman players who joined this year. Fordahl had missed the first 10 games with a dislocated kneecap and played tentatively his first two games back but much more aggressively this time.

“Adam is really pumped up to play, after missing all those games,” said Olson.

Riebel scored with an assist from Mickey Sanders in the first half, and Benz scored with an assist from Ryan Ness in the second half. Cody Christ was in goal for the Elks.

The Elks are 5-3 in conference and 7-6 overall. Maple Grove leads at 4-2-2, and Osseo, Blaine and Centennial are all right behind the Elks at 4-3-1. Armstrong dropped to 3-3-2 and 4-5-3.

The Elks will play at Centennial on Tuesday, 5 p.m.