Bluejays edge Cards in OT
FAIRMONT – All it took was two shots. The Waseca Bluejays boys hockey team scored with one minute left in regulation to tie the game against the Fairmont Area Cardinals at 3-3.
Then with 32 seconds left in the extra frame, J.P Eykyn sent the game-winning shot into the net to give the Bluejays a 4-3 South Central Conference victory on Friday at Martin County Arena in Fairmont.
“When a game goes into overtime, you only want it to end one of two ways,” said Fairmont Area head coach Brady Meyer. “We wanted to win, but at a certain point with that little time left, you’d be satisfied with a tie.”
The Bluejays got their tying goal from Richard Volkmer with one minute left in the third period.
After trailing the entire game, the Bluejays pulled their goalie in the final 1:30 for an extra skater. The extra skater, Eykyn, fired a pass to Volkmer on the wing and he snapped a shot that found the net to send the game into overtime.
In the extra period, despite the Cardinals outshooting the Bluejays 5-3, Waseca pulled its goalie again and Eykyn raced from the bench as the extra skater.
Eykyn then caught a carom off a shot from the point and snuck it through the crease on the left side for the win.
“What’s hard is that Colton had an outstanding game tonight,” Meyer said about Cardinal netminder Cunning’s 37 saves. “He was moving side-to-side really well and made a ton of huge saves.”
The Cardinal penalty kill also came up huge for the home team, killing off 28 minutes of penalties without allowing a goal.
“That was great for us to do that in the first two periods, the problem is that ended up being what killed us,” said Meyer. “We did a good job of killing those penalties, but then you get to the third period and you’re out of gas and then have to go into overtime.”
The Cardinals jumped out to 1-0 lead with 4:46 left in the first period when sophomore Reilly Hoefker netted his fifth goal of the season.
Ethan Lubenow fired a shot on net from the left side, and Hoefker, driving the net looking for a rebound, buried the chance to take the lead.
In the second period, senior Ben Mitchell doubled the Cardinal lead with an unassisted tally.
Mitchell carried the puck from behind the net and drove toward the slot, where he got off a quick shot that found the top shelf just 4:20 into the frame.
The Bluejays didn’t get on the board until one minute into the third. Volkmer scored the first of his two goals on the night with an assist from Cody Ulfers.
Five minutes and eight seconds later, the Cardinals struck again to retain their two-goal lead.
Senior Greg Claeys snapped a pass to forward Matt Lytle, who caught the pass inside the Bluejay zone, and fired a shot on net.
Senior Brock Johnson was crashing the back side looking for any chance at a shot, caught the rebound and slid it into the goal to make it 3-1 with 10:52 left in the game.
Wyatt Krampitz then cut the Cardinal lead to one with 2:24 left in the game.
Volkmer controlled the puck behind Cunning and the net, fired a pass out to Krampitz in front and his point-blank blast lit the lamp.
The Cardinals fired 34 shots on net, while the Bluejays recorded 40.
“Even though we didn’t get the outcome that we would have liked, I’m really proud of the effort our guys gave,” said Meyer. “They battled for this game all the way to the end.”
John McNair made 31 saves for Waseca.
No. 9-seeded Fairmont Area (4-18, 0-6 SCC) travels to play No. 8-seeded Morris/Benson Area in Section 3A playoff action at 7 p.m. Tuesday in Benson.
Waseca (6-15-1, 2-4 SCC) awaits seeding for the Section 1A playoffs to determine its opponent and site of Tuesday’s game.
FA – Reilly Hoefker (Ethan Lubenow), 4:46.
FA – Ben Mitchell (unassisted), 12:40.
W – Richard Volkmer (Cody Ulfers), 16:00.
FA – Brock Johnson (Matt Lytle, Greg Claeys), 10:52.
W – Wyatt Krampitz (Richard Volkmer), 2:24.
W – Richard Volkmer (J.P. Eykyn), 1:00.
W – J.P. Eykyn (unassisted), 0:32.
Shots on goal: Waseca 10-12-15-3-40; Fairmont Area 8-11-10-5-34.
Saves: Colton Cunning (FA) 10-12-13-2-37; John McNair (W) 7-10-9-5-34.
Penalties: Fairmont Area 8 for 27 minutes; Waseca 3 for 6 minutes.