There were four lead changes and three ties heading into the third period.
This was anyone’s game.
Turns out, this was Rob Stautz's game.
The senior registered his first hat trick of the season at a most opportune time, notching his final goal in the third period to lift No. 6-seeded Roseville to a 6-5 victory over No. 3 Tartan in the Section 4AA quarterfinals on Saturday, Feb. 23, at Aldrich Arena in Maplewood.
Stautz converted a rebound in front of the net with 5 minutes, 11 seconds remaining. It was the lone goal of the third period after the teams had combined for 10 in the first two.
Senior forward Jake Jackson scored three goals for Tartan (20-5-1), which led 3-2 after the first period and went up 4-2 on a shorthanded goal by the Michigan Tech recruit 1:47 into the second period. Jackson, a Mr. Hockey finalist who finished the season with 32 goals in 26 games, scored again in the second period to put Tartan ahead 5-4.
“We just had to get pucks out of the zone, off the glass and lock down on (Jackson)," said Stautz, who scored to tie the score at 5 in the second period. "He’s a great player, so just keep an eye on him.
“Once we got up, we just played defensively and didn’t let them score … were just getting shots from everywhere, crashing the net. We’re a dirty team, nothing pretty.”
Roseville junior defenseman Andrew Colvard was called for tripping with less than 6 minutes remaining, and the Titans pounded the net with shot after shot. Goaltender Zach Larson made 17 of his 33 saves in the third period for Roseville (12-12-2).
Tartan's Gabe Splichal had 28 saves.
“They got up early and we just had to start getting pucks on the net,” said Stautz, who has 15 goals in 26 games for the Raiders. “Their goaltender looked a little shaky, so we were just shooting them from everywhere.”
1. Jake Jackson, Tartan
The senior forward scored an unassisted, shorthanded goal on a breakaway early in the second period to give the Titans a 4-2 lead. Tartan's scoring leader and Mr. Hockey finalist had a hat trick by the end of the second period.
3. Zach Larson, Roseville
The senior goalie Zach Larson had notched 16 saves heading into the third period, when he added 17 more. Larson was at his best when Tartan went on a potentially game-changing power play with less than six minutes left to play.