He is not the biggest player on the ice, but Jake McCann planted himself in front of the net and scored the two most important goals in Roseville's 4-3 overtime win at Forest Lake.
Tipping the scales 160-pounds, McCann was with the big boys, hovering around the crease and put away the game tying goal and on the power play in overtime, he was able to slide a backhand shot past Rangers goalie Jesse Garcia for the win.
"It doesn't matter how they go in," McCann said. "At that point in the game, you just have to do whatever it takes to get the puck in the net.
"It can hit off shin pads or you can pick a corner, but as long as it goes in, it counts the same."
In between the second and third period, down 3-1, Raiders coach Jeff Pauletti talked to his team about the importance of play in front of the net and the need for his team to get there no matter what.
McCann evidently listened well and reaped the benefits of producing blue-collar type work.
"Bring it in that five-by-five area in front of the net," Pauletti said. "Somebody had to sacrifice what we were doing and he did it. What Jake brings to this team is a lot of speed and a lot of energy.
"He really can get up ice and he's so fast and we saw it last week against Superior and Duluth where he would cut in and get around. He's hard to stop when he gets a full head of steam going."
To beat Forest Lake, McCann didn't just need to use his skating stride or use pin-point accuracy to find the back of the net.
It was determination and will to do what his coach talked about in between periods, making the sacrifices to do what is best for the team.
"You saw what he did and I like to see that," Raiders goalie Zach Larson said. "It's motivating to see your teammates dive around, fighting in front for the puck.
"It doesn't matter how big they are and to see Jake do that, he deserved to score those two goals."
With one minute, 51 seconds left in the third and within seconds of possibly pulling the goalie, McCann tied the game
"It was awesome, pretty crazy," McCann said. "I had a feeling we could pull it off and just glad we were able to with all the chances we did have. A little bit of luck, but you have to have the hard work and drive to put it in."
McCann's overtime goal sent the Raiders in pure celebration as it came back from a 3-0 defect in front of a packed Forest Lake Area Athletic Association (FLAAA) Sports Center.
With a strong showing of support from Roseville's students that made the trip to Forest Lake, McCann made sure to celebrate a big victory with them and it was at that time, where he showed off his speed that makes him the player that he is.
However, he proved that he can and is willing to more than just skate to help the Raiders win.
If a young team, with little senior leadership, had the task of attempting to comeback from three goals, it might prove to be a daunting one.
Sprinkle in 11 seniors in a lineup, now that's a different story.
Pauletti has a team that has been in the Raiders varsity program since players stepped foot in Roseville Area High School.
They have been through the ups and downs, but proved they can handle the latter without panicking and letting a defect get out of control
"It's nice having a senior team," Pauletti said. "We have 11 seniors in that room and most of them have played three years for us.
"They understand being down, they understand playing in tight games and it was one of those games where we shot into shin pads all the time and we shot into skates, we missed the net, but the competition level was there and the intensity level was there and when we went down and scored the first one, then got the second one, we got close and they knew we were in this game."
Forest Lake scored two goals late in the first period and Lucas Kohls made it 3-0 early in the second.
Alex Hultman got Roseville on the board, Larson made a huge save on Kohls who was on a two-man breakaway with C.J. Franklin, another key offensive player for the Rangers.
"You saw Kohls score I think their third goal, just fired it right over the goalies shoulder," Pauletti said. "You give up that two-on-0 with him and we're on the power play, our goalie made a huge save and for not having a ton of varsity experience, he was calm and collective in that situation and really shut them down.
"I think that actually kind of started a little bit of confidence factor that we had. We had guys that were starting to make plays and he is fun to watch."
"I think it was kind of a momentum changer," Larson said of his save on Kohls. "Along with Alex's (Hultman) goal late, it gave us a lot going into the third because we were only down two.
"Three is a lot to come back on in a short period of time, so it was important for us to get one and not allow any late."
Larson faced 32 shots from Forest Lake and made some big ones in the third period, including a toe save late in the third and if it went in, the chances of Roseville coming back would have shrunk.
"We showed a lot of character tonight," McCann said. "It was huge for us to come here and get a win."
With a bevy of Minnesota boys hockey teams already having played at least one, if not two games, Forest Lake opened its season against Roseville and did so at home in front of a full and rowdy audience.
That may have hurt the Rangers as it may have need to at least tap on the breaks a bit.
"I think our guys were a little too excited," Rangers coach Aaron Forsythe said. "They haven't played a game yet this season and had a lot to get out there, but I think we needed to pull back a little."
What Forest Lake needed to pull back on was penalties.
It had 26 minutes, compared to just two for Roseville.
"It's hard to win games when you are killing penalties the whole time," Forsythe said. "We have to clean things up, but I think a lot of that was just how excited the guys were to play, but you have to control things out there.
"You don't need to go after a guy who made a good move on your or whatever else they did."
Roseville, after failing to convert on two five-on-three advantages, was able to make the most of its power plays late in the game.
McCann's overtime goal was on the power play and was the third one the Raiders did score.
"That was one of the game changes for us." McCann said. "We knew it was going to be an emotional game for them, their first one of the season, so we just had to stay out of the box and it paid off in the end."
When there was nobody in the box, Forest Lake played like a team that could contend in the SEC.
But when it had to continually had to kill penalty after penalty, being down a player took its toll.
"When you spend as much time as we did on the penalty kill, it usually doesn't turn out good," Forsythe said. "I was happy with how we played five-on-five, but when they only have one penalty and we had as many as we did, a team like that will take advantage of it."
Forest Lake built a 3-0 lead with two goals in the first and another in the second, but Roseville's Jake McCann scored the final two goals of the game to propel the Raiders to a 4-3 overtime win.
McCann's first goal came with one minute, 56 seconds left in the third and his overtime goal was scored on the power play with two minutes, 56 seconds left in the game.
Tommy Tyson and Weston Kilpela each scored in the first for the Rangers and Lucas Kohls made it 3-0 with a hard wrist shot over Roseville's Zach Larson's glove.
Alex Hultman scored late in the second period for Roseville to put the Raiders on the board going into the third period.
Cole Knowlton cut the lead with a power play just three minutes, 47 seconds into the third and McCann saved some time for his late-game heroics.
McCann now has four goals on the season and his two against Forest Lake still keeps the Raiders undefeated on the season with a record of 3-0-0 (1-0-0 SEC).
After playing three games in a week, Roseville will now have a week off and not play again until Dec. 12 at home against Hastings.
With the loss, Forest Lake is 0-1-0 (0-1-0 SEC), but will get a chance to show resiliency when it takes on Grand Rapids on the road Friday.
It might have to make the trip without Tommy Tyson, who had five penalties in the game, which means a game misconduct and suspension from the next game in accordance to the Minnesota State High School League.
In his first varsity start, Jesse Garcia made 23 saves.
His counterpart, Zach Larson made 29 for the game.
1. Jake McCann, Roseville
McCann came away with two clutch goals for the Raiders, the last two. His first tied the game in the closing minutes and his second gave Roseville the win. He might be small in stature, but McCann proved to be tough in front of the net in putting away those goals for the Rangers.
2. Alex Hultman, Roseville
Hultman got the Raiders on the board late in the second with a goal and he added two more assist on goals. He is going to be looked upon to carry some of the offensive load for Roseville this season and he did so against Forest Lake.
3. Lucas Kohls, Forest Lake
His lone goal was a pretty one, an upper corner shot over the glove of Raiders goalie Zach Larson was about as perfect as it could be. Kohls was also a force carrying the puck in Roseville's zone. He used his size, which attracted physical play, but that did not deter Kohls from doing what he needed to do to help his team.