Colorado Springs, CO – The top-ranked Huskies should have breathed a collective sigh of relief after their 3-2 overtime win over the CC Tigers at Ed Robson Arena on Friday (Nov. 5). The CC Tigers had just pushed them to the limit sending the game to overtime in the brand new building’s inaugural NCHC game. Maybe the Hockey Gods were with them on this night relying on a power-play goal 15:35 into period three and the overtime winner 3:08 into the extra session by Jami Krannila to keep their winning streak intact in Colorado Springs.
In the end, the Huskies maintained their unbeaten streak in Colorado Springs going 13-0-1 since February 22, 2013. However, as has been the case as of late, this was the 6th time in the last eleven games that the teams had the game go to overtime. The Huskies are 4-0-2 in those games.
“We played well tonight,” CC coach Kris Mayotte said. “I thought we started well, they put us on our heels from the 15 to the 8-minute mark, but after their goal, I thought we responded really well and got into our game. I thought we were the better team for the majority, if not all, of the second period,” Mayotte said. “We took a bad penalty and we can’t give that team free chances. Our expectation is that we are going to play well. That is our standard. We’re a young team that needs to learn how to win games when you have the game in hand.”
The Huskies, who have been strong in the opening period of play so far this season got off to a good start once again taking an early 1-0 lead 7:36 into the game with Micah Miller’s (Kupka, Donohue) third goal of the season. Kupka made a backhand pass to Miller at the SCSU blue line and Miller turned on the jets beating CC defender Niklas Andrews wide and unloaded a strong wrist shot that beat Dominic Basse clean from the right dot.
The Tigers had two late opportunities on Hrenak with Brian Hawkinson pushing the puck through the legs of Hrenak but sliding wide and Hunter McKown with a point-blank shot from low in the slot with about 2:00 minutes remaining.
The Tigers did a better job of managing the puck the second half of the period and despite being outshot early evened things up matching the Huskies in shots on goal at 9-9 in period one.
It was not a good start for the Tigers with Hugo Blixt being whistled for interference just 28 seconds into period two but the Tigers held the potent power play that was over 40% entering the game off the board.
A three-on-one by the Tigers with 15:30 remaining in the period had Hrenak making a big save on Connor Mayer but you could tell the Tigers were gaining confidence. Two minutes later, a strong play by Jordan Biro knotted things up. Biro knocked Nolan Walker off his feet behind the net and captured the puck curling clockwise to the net and beating Hrenak low glove side for his second goal of the season. However, a case could have been made for interference on Biro on the play.
It turned out to be the only goal of the period despite additional power play opportunities for both the Tigers and the Huskies. However, it was the energized Tigers who carried the period outshooting the Huskies 13 to 12 in period two.
A holding call on Easton Brodzinski 6:15 into the period had an early power play for the Tigers and they jacked up the crowd just 42 seconds later with a goal by former St. Cloud Norseman player, Bret Chorske. On what looked like an innocent play, Biro placed a shot from the top of the right circle off the back glass. However, the puck deflected back towards the goal and Chorske was there to whack at it twice and punch it past Hrenak for the Tiger’s first lead of the game. The play was reviewed but upheld.
There was some slight controversy with 9:35 remaining as Basse nudged the net off its moorings with his shoulder just prior to Chase Brand burying the puck on a wraparound. However, the ruling was the whistle had blown prior to the play.
Things were beginning to look dim for the Huskies until they were gifted a power-play opportunity 14:13 into the period on a tripping call on Hunter McKown. The Huskies evened things up 1:22 later on Jami Krannila’s (Donohue, Fitzgerald) first goal of the game and fifth goal of the early season. From the blue line, Donohue fed Krannila positioned above the right circle and he beat Basse with a full slapshot to knot the game at 2-2.
The teams skated out the balance of the period with the Tigers outshooting the Huskies 10-5 to send the game to the three-on-three extra session.
The Huskies had the better of the possession in the overtime with the Huskies regrouping a number of times to maintain puck possession but the best early opportunity was for the Tigers with Danny Weight carrying the puck the length of the ice weaving thru SCSU defenders and charging in on Hrenak but Hrenak made a nice pad save.
Krannila finally ended the game with a rink-length drive of his own beating the CC defense wide and taking an initial shot from inside the right circle that Basse saved but he couldn’t stop Krannila’s second shot off the rebound for the game-winner.
Three Stars of the Game: #1 Krannila (SCSU), #2 Donohue (SCSU), #3 Biro (CC)
SCSU was outshot in the game 34-29 with David Hrenak turning aside 32 of 34 shots to see his record improve to 7-2-0. CC’s Dominic Basse also has a solid game stopping 26 of 29 shots on goal.
SCSU was 1 for 3 on the power play and the Tigers were 1 for 2.
SCSU won the battle in the faceoff circle winning 32 of 61 faceoffs (52.5%). Nolan Walker led the Huskies winning 12of 19 faceoffs (63.2%).
Seamus Donohue assisted on all three goals and Krannila netted two goals for a multi-point game for SCSU.
The teams return to the ice on Saturday at 7:07 PM CT for the series finale.