The Owatonna High School boys' hockey team vaulted into first place in the Big Nine Conference standings with a 5-0 win at Faribault Saturday night. As the only meeting of the season between the two rivals, it was worth four points in the standings.

OHS improved to 7-2 for 22 conference points. Northfield (8-2, 20 points) is second. Albert Lea (7-2, 16 points) and defending Big Nine champ Century (6-0, 16 points) and tied for third. The Huskies' losses have come to Northfield 4-3 and Century 1-0. They get rematches with each before the end of the season. Owatonna has never celebrated a conference title as the Huskies, however the Indians won back-to-back titles in 1991-92 and 1992-93.

Sophomore Dom Valento scored twice Saturday and assisted on a goal. He slammed home a Zach Kubicek rebound at 6:21 of the first period. Drake Gieseke also assisted. Luke Kubicek doubled the Huskies' lead at 8:08 off a pass from Wyatt Oldefendt. OHS took a 2-0 lead into the first intermission locker room and out shot the Falcons 10-4. Faribault would only get three more shots on goal for the rest of the game.

Owatonna's domination of offensive zone possession time began right away in the second period. After quick rush by Faribault that nearly led to a goal, Owatonna's Casey Johnson scored off a feed from Gieseke for a 3-0 lead at 4:26 that was the only of the middle period. Owatonna out shot Faribault 12-3 in the period.

Midway through the third, Matthew DeHaan found pinched in from his defensive post and found an open net for his first goal of the season. Collin Pederson and Valento assisted at the 8:00 mark.

While the Huskies were killing a penalty, Valento created a breakaway for himself. A Faribault player hooked him on the rush and Valento was awarded a penalty shot, which he scored on at 12:30 to round out the scoring in the 5-0 victory. OHS out shot the Falcons 8-0 in the final frame for a 30-7 game advantage. Easton Sletten earned the shutout win to improve to 6-0.

Owatonna (11-5 overall) hosts Chanhassen Tuesday, January 22 at 7 pm on Dudley Otto Rink at the Four Seasons Centre on KRFO AM 1390 and the KRFO app.

Roy Koenig/Townsquare Media