High School Hockey’s version of the cardiac kids struck again. For the third straight game, Moorhead was extended to overtime. And, for the third straight time, they were victorious in the extra session as they defeated the Roseau Rams 4-3.
Last night’s game took on extra meaning as the game had not only Mariucci Conference implications but Section 8AA meaning as well. The Spuds brought home a 5-0 win in Roseau earlier this season and were looking to take a stranglehold on the potential number one seed in the section barring a late season collapse. The Rams had other ideas and battled it to the end.
Junior wing Quin Buckellew took a pass from Trent Johnson in the slot and raced in on Roseau goalie Ethan Kvidt. He pulled Kvidt to the goalie’s left and then shoveled a forehand under the crossbar for his 8th goal of the season lifting his team to the victory. His goal was similar to two other Spuds goals earlier in the contest.
The scoring chances were held to a minimum Tuesday night as each team was effective in breaking the puck out and advancing through the neutral zone. The defensive zone play was sturdy and took on a playoff type atmosphere. Both goalies made tough saves tight in the goal, under pressure, and with opposing players crashing the net with authority.
Adam Knochenmus opened the scoring with his 17th of the season at 5:03 of the first period setting off an explosive celebration by the Rams. It didn’t last long as Spuds leading scorer Alex Altenbernd picked up his first of two goals just :42 after the Knochenmus tally. Altenbernd took a Braden Rahman pass wide to the left at the Rams line and bull rushed the net where he shoveled a backhand past Kvidt.
Altenbernd was not done as he took a pass to the high slot from Jordan Doschaidis who marched down the slot and forced Kvidt to commit and again shoveled another back hand past the junior goalie with just :10 left in the first period. The middle of the ice was available off and on for the Spuds and they were able to take advantage each time it was for three of their four goals.
Johnson scored his 9th of the season for the 3-1 lead as he walked from the goal line and fired a backhand on the ice between the wickets Kvidt for the two goal lead at 6:56 of the second period. At that point, the Rams were shocked to life as they began their comeback.
Senior Tyler Landman was all over the ice, effective in the defensive zone, on the puck in transition, making good decisions, and creating in the offensive zone. He was rewarded for his efforts at 11:20. He too took advantage of an opening up the slot and received a sweet feed from Cole Kostrzewski as he worked it to the backhand and deposited over the prone Bitzer for his 11th of the season.
The scoreboard read 3-2 in favor of Moorhead but the Rams continued to work all three zones at the level they need to by a playoff contender. It carried over in the third period as Kostrzewski took a pass from Ryan Weston in the slot and blasted a shot as he juggled the water bottle for the 3-3 tie.
Both teams knuckled down defensively and both goalies did not allow anything. With :10 left in the third period Landman had a glorious chance to win the game with a great angle and shot at the Moorhead net. All Bitzer could do was wave his glove hand at a bullet that rung the crossbar and kept the game at three. It set up the final heroics for Buckellew and the Spuds.
The Spuds improved their record to (8-8-1, 4-2-0) and the Rams fell to (7-7-2, 4-3-0) It was a well played almost penalty free game as only three power plays were awarded on the game. The Spuds were 0-1 while the Rams were 0-2. With Nick Oliver set to rejoin the Rams lineup, they will receive the shot in the arm the team needs to take their efforts to the next level. They played a tight checking playoff style game while the Spuds have shown they can spread the scoring around and have come up big in the extra session three straight games. Wow, bring on the paddles.
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