by Bruce Strand, Sports editor
In an early-season duel of unbeaten conference rivals, the Anoka Tornadoes went overtime to edge the Elk River-Zimmerman Elks 1-0 on Wednesday evening in Anoka.
Felipa Genchi punched the game’s lone goal into an open net two minutes into the first overtime. He pounced on a rebound after Elk goalkeeper Cody Christ stopped the initial shot.
Joey Benz of the Elks narrowly missed in the final minute of overtime, and Anoka improved to 2-0 in conference and 6-0-1 overall, dropping the Elks to 1-1 and 3-1-1.
“The game was very even, and both teams had a handful of chances,” said Anoka coach Pete Hayes.
The Tornadoes focused on Storm Heyer, who leads the Elks with five goals, man-marking him the entire game.
“He was able to get a few shots off,” said Elk coach Aaron Lindquist, “but not able to find the back of the net.”
Senior midfielder Grant Tesdahl is out for 10 days after he was hit head-to-head and required 14 stitches over his left eye, Lindquist reported.
“Grant toughed it out and played through the injury,” he said, “and went to the hospital right after the game.”
Lindquist said Christ was stout in the net as usual while the defense played strong for the second night in a row, limiting Anoka to longer distance shots. Ryan Stefano has been “a rock” in the middle this year, the coach said.
The Elks came close to posting two shutouts in successive nights, having blanked Andover 3-0 at home on Tuesday.
“It was tough to lose a section and conference game like that,” said Lindquist, “but we will learn and build from that. Lots of good teachable moments from the game.”
The Elks have a doubleheader at St. Michael-Albertville on Saturday, boys at 11 a.m. and boys at 1 p.m.