Phillip Spock scored the game winning goal with 33.9 seconds left in overtime to give Tartan a 2-1 win over Mahtomedi in a Classic Suburban Conference showdown on Tuesday, Dec. 7.
“I don’t even know what was going through my head,” Spock said. “I just saw the puck and tried to get it to the net, and it was a great feeling to see it go in.”
Spock was cruising the front of the net when teammate Jake Jackson entered the Zephyrs zone with plenty of speed.
Jackson circled the net, threw the puck in the slot and Mahtomedi goalie Sawyer Marshall got caught out of position. Spock had a wide open net to shoot at.
“Have to give Jake (Jackson) a lot of credit,” Spock said. “He got into the zone and put a lot of pressure on their defense and it was up to one of us to make a play.”
Mahtomedi applied a lot of pressure on Tartan in the late stages of overtime but it could not crack Titans goaltender Evan Hauser, who finished with 26 saves.
Hauser made five saves in the overtime period, including several that could be classified as difficult.
“It was easily Hauser’s best game of the season,” Tartan co-head coach Jim McElmury said. “If he didn’t play as well as he did tonight, we wouldn’t be leaving this building with a win.”
Mahtomedi opened the scoring in the first when Conner Mars buried a rebound in the slot after Hauser kicked out a rebound shot by Mike Rose.
Jeff Jackson answered for Tartan late in the first to give the Titans some needed momentum heading into the locker room.
Penalties ultimately doomed Mahtomedi. The Zephyrs had seven penalties, taking most of them late in the game.
Despite generating a majority of the scoring chances in overtime, the Zephyrs wasted too much energy on the penalty kill.
“Any time you take that many penalties, I am not going to be happy,” Mahtomedi coach Jeff Poeschl said. “Being on the penalty kill for that long tires you out and that hurt us tonight.”
Part of that Mahtomedi parade to the penalty could be attributed to the Titans. Tartan's goal every time it plays the Zephyrs is to get the puck deep and work them in the corners.
“That is what we try to do against them,” Spock said. “If we can get them to do that and take penalties, we are doing our job. We had something left in the tank at the end even though they had the chances.”
It was the first conference game for both teams in what has been an even matchup over the past few seasons.
The last 10 meetings prior to Tuesday were much of the same. Close, tight and low scoring.
“We have always had close games against them and tonight was just another reason why it is fun to play against them,” Spock said. “I know it is a game that we look forward to.”
Tartan earned a big Classic Suburban Conference win against Mahtomedi in dramatic fashion when Phillip Spock tallied the game winner with 33.9 seconds to go in overtime on Tuesday, Dec. 7 at St. Croix Recreation Center in Stillwater.
The Titans had a chance because of goalie Evan Hauser, who stopped 26 shots, including five in overtime.
The win is Tartan's first against the Zephyrs since Feb. 14, 2009. A year ago, Mahtomedi won both games by scores of 6-2 and 2-1.
Sawyer Marshall was almost as good in net for the Zephyrs as Hauser was for the Titans, stopping 23 shots, but Marshall had no chance on Spock's overtime winner.
Over the last 11 meetings between the two teams, Mahtomedi is 6-5-0 and has a 29-26 goal advantage.
It was a hard hitting game from the start, which ended up to the Titans' advantage. Tartan attempted to tire Mahtomedi with physical play and work in the corners.
Tartan will take a 3-1-0 record to Thief River Falls on Friday, Dec. 10, while Mahtomedi searches for its first win and hit the road as well at Blake on Thursday, Dec. 9.
1. Phillip Spock, Tartan
The Titan's senior forward provided the game winning goal in the final minute of overtime to lift the Titans to victory. Although on the ice for a large portion of the game as a member of Tartan's starting line, Spock skated hard and still had some juice in the tank to bury a loose puck in front of the net for the win.
2. Evan Hauser, Tartan
In a physical and defense-dominated game, Hauser was stellar for the Titans as its last line of defense. The junior goaltender made 26 saves in winning effort including a sprawling save towards the end of regulation that kept the game alive for the Titans.
3. Sawyer Marshall, Mahtomedi
Keeping the game alive for the Zephyrs was Marshall who made 22 saves - his biggest save of the night coming late in overtime when he held his ground on Spock who pick-pocketed a Zephyr defender and fired a shot right in front of the net. The MN Hockey Hub Top Junior also made a huge save on a tipped shot that could have ended the game in the final minutes of the third period.