East Grand Forks senior Dixon Bowen's speed isn't limited to his obvious physical attributes. Present the Mr. Hockey finalist with an on-ice problem, such as a hot goalie or a far-away empty net, and it doesn't take him long to process the information and compute a solution.
Such was the case when Bowen scored twice in defending champion East Grand Forks' 4-0 victory over New Prague on Wednesday.
Bowen, who has committed to play at North Dakota, had his first-period breakaway blast stopped by the blocking glove of New Prague goalie Conner Wagner. So when Bowen was in alone on Wagner again early in the second, the data told him to do something different.
"I probably learned to deke instead of shoot," Bowen said about his strategy on his second solo chance against Wagner.
Bowen did, indeed, stickhandle around the attempted poke check of Wagner before depositing the puck high in the net to open the scoring 6:58 into the second period. The goal held up as the winner for the defensively dominant Green Wave (24-4), and Bowen sealed the victory over the Trojans (20-9) with a length-of-the-ice shot with 37 seconds remaining. The empty-net goal came after Bowen and his teammates had misfired on numerous close-range shots at the open net in the closing minute.
"I don't know about that," Bowen said when asked if he had learned standing farther from the empty net would give him a better chance to put the puck in it.