When the spotlight has been at its brightest, Andover goalie Chase Perry has simply stolen the show.
Elk River unloaded 48 shots on the Huskies' sophomore goalie, but he sprawled, dove and swatted away just about every puck that came his way and gave Andover a huge 2-1 win on Tuesday, Jan. 31, at Elk River Ice Arena.
Perry's performance against the Elks was just another display of his brilliant play this season and, more notably, his past six starts where he has not allowed more than two goals in any of those games.
On top of that, Perry has had the daunting task of having to stop a heavy quantity of shots, including the 58 he made in a 2-2 tie against Maple Grove on Jan. 21.
Huskies coach, Mark Manney is direct, upfront and honest as to the reason why his No. 1 goalie sees a lot of rubber each night.
"We cheat a little bit offensively," Manney said. "We take more risks because we know we have Chase back there who can shut a team down."
Those risks did lead to some opportunities for Andover, especially in the first period, but Elk River was able to create some quality opportunities as well.
The Elks had Perry scrambling all over the front of the net in the first period when they unloaded 16 shots on goal.
They were just getting started.
"It was motivating to see him play as well as he did in that first period," Andover forward Jared McComber said. "Guys on our bench were really excited, and it got us going a bit."
"I think it gave us a spark," Perry said. "I was able to make all the saves and we were still in the game."
After the second period, the game was knotted at 1, and the Elks came out just as strong in the third as they did in the first period.
Shot after shot was turned away by Perry, who ended up seeing 19 in the final period, including a surge in the final minutes when Elk River poured it on in an attempt to tie the game.
"I thought we did about all we could when we pulled our goalie," Elks coach Tony Sarsland said. "If you would have told me we would have put 48 shots on the board, I would bet anything that we would have won the game."
It wasn't too long ago, either, that Perry left Elk River scratching its head.
Just 17 days before the matchup in Elk River, the teams squared off in Andover, where Perry made 32 saves in a 3-2 overtime victory for the Huskies.
"Did the exact same thing to us in their place," Sarsland said. "He does a great job for them."
With all the saves Perry has made, Manney acknowledged it might not be a recipe for success in the postseason, where there is a possibility that Andover and Elk River could meet again.
"It's great and all, but you are not going to advance in our section giving up that many shots," he said. "If we do find a way to pull it off, I am sure Chase (Perry) would have a large part of that."
At a point in the season where teams want to be ascending in quality of play, Perry has done his part.
He has allowed nine goals in his last six games, posting a 5-0-1 record in that span.
"We have so much confidence in the way he plays, and it is spreading throughout our team," Manney said. "He has definitely won a few games for us."
"It's a good feeling knowing that your coaches and teammates are behind you," Perry said. "It just allows you to play a lot better."
It was only a year ago that Andover finished the season with an 8-18-0 record.
Currently, the 2011-12 overall record stands at 13-5-1.
In Mark Manney's second season as head coach of the Huskies (her previously served as a co-head coach), there has been a big turnaround.
"We have a bunch of blue-collar guys, and we have great team speed throughout our lines," Manney said. "There's that, and we have guys that are stepping up at the right time.
"Our first line isn't always the line that scores the goals for us. Sometimes we find out that our third line is producing or it's the second line getting all the goals. We just have things balancing this year all around."
Mix in the Huskies' ability to win some big games and stay close in others, and they have proven to be a dangerous team, especially in Section 7AA.
"We've won some big games this season, taking two against Elk River is big for us," Manney said. "I think if you ask our guys, some of the losses could have easily been wins for us.
"Four of our losses were by one goal, and our guys will be the first ones to tell you that there were just some mental mistakes that could have changed the game."
Those one goal losses were to Maple Grove, Eden Prairie, Centennial and Blaine.
"We have been right there in those games," Huskies forward Jared McComber said. "There have been a lot of exciting games that we have played in this year, so it's important that we keep playing like that."
Andover has been the only team in the Northwest Suburban Conference to put a scare into Maple Grove -- twice -- as the Crimson go for their second consecutive undefeated season in conference play.
In the second meeting against Maple Grove, Andover had a 2-0 lead in the third period, but the Crimson were able to come back late and tie the game with just 28 seconds left in the third.
Huskies goalie Chase Perry made 58 saves in that game.
"There's a lot of confidence in our team and it's been fun to play in games like that," Perry said. "Hopefully we play in a few more."
Andover goalie Chase Perry stopped 47 shots to propel the Huskies to a 2-1 victory over Elk River on Tuesday, Jan. 31, at the Elk River Ice Arena.
Perry made 19 saves in the final period to preserve the win, which was made possible by Jared McComber, who scored in the final minutes of the game.
On the other end, Elks goalie Anders Franke was not bad either, stopping 26 shots.
After a scoreless first period, Tyler Tomberlin scored for the Huskies to give them a 1-0 lead.
Less than a minute later, Tomberlin was in the box for hooking and Elk River capitalized when Peter Jones was able to slip a shot through the legs of Perry.
With 3 minutes, 12 seconds left in the third, McComber popped in a shot in traffic, with the puck just squeaking inside the left post for the game-winner.
Andover is now on a seven game unbeaten streak, which includes two victories over Elk River and a tie with Maple Grove.
The last loss the Huskies had was on Jan. 5 against Blaine.
The win gives Andover a 13-5-1 overall record (10-3-1 Northwest Suburban). The Huskies are third in the conference standings and more than likely will be seeded above the Elks in section play.
Andover will return home to play Robbinsdale Armstrong on Thursday, Feb. 2.
Elk River drops to 10-8-2 (7-5-1 in the Northwest Suburban) and will stay at home to play Coon Rapids on Thursday, Feb. 2.
1. Chase Perry, Andover
The sophomore made 47 saves in the 2-1 victory for the Huskies, including stops on all 19 shots he faced in the third period. Elk River threw everything at him and Perry was as close to perfect as he could be. He was sprawled all over the net, diving at shots and swatting away loose pucks all night. In a game with heavy Section 7AA seedomg implications, he helped the Huskies to beat Elk River for the second time in 17 days.
2. Jared McComber, Andover
With 3 minutes, 12 seconds left in the third period, McComber scored the game-winning goal on a shot that barely got inside the left pipe to beat Elks goalie Anders Franke. McComber also assisted on the Huskies first goal for a two-point night.
3. Anders Franke, Elk River
Regarded as one of the top goalies in the state, Franke proved that to be true again, making 26 saves in a tough loss for the Elks. It was another game where Franke did not allow a shot that he could see get by him. Both Andover goals were the result of scrums in front of the net. Franke was steady and well-positioned all game.