The second quarterfinal game of the Duluth Heritage Holiday Classic saw a slow start and an exciting finish as Rosemount scored three second period goals and then was able to hold off a late Buffalo attack to win 3-2.
Ten minutes into the first period Buffalo held a 1-0 lead off a Christian Illies goal and Rosemount looked like they left their legs on the bus. The Irish only had one shot on net until the final minutes of the period. Rosemount’s locker room was not so pleasant during the first intermission.
“I called them out basically is what happened” said Rosemount head coach Scott Macho, “I don’t know if we had bus legs or what it was. Finally in the last few minutes of the period we got into our groove.”
Whatever it was that coach Macho actually said paid off as Mike Cossalter tied the game less than two minutes into the second period. The Irish went on to score two more goals in the period, both power play goals, the first from Trevor Kolden and the eventual game winner by Andy Gustafson.
“We gave them their opportunities” said Buffalo head coach Mike MacMillan, “It was some of our breakdowns with the puck and they capitalized. That’s something to address and we’ll adjust accordingly for tomorrow”
The teams headed to the locker rooms for the second intermission with Rosemount leading 3-1, but Buffalo wasn’t done yet.
The third period saw several penalties on both teams but neither was able to convert on the power play. Then, with 2:06 left in the game, Rosemount’s Lucas Haase was called for slashing and the faceoff was going to be in the Irish zone. Buffalo called a timeout and would keep their goalie Blake Schmidt on the bench.
“We wanted to get as many pucks to the net as we could” said coach MacMillan, “Our guys moved the puck around pretty good and we got a good shot and I don’t think the goalie saw it.”
Just thirty seconds into their power play, Buffalo’s Jack Becker passed the puck to Tyler Burg on the point. Burg took a huge slap shot and sniped the puck right under the cross bar to bring the Bison within one goal.
“We drew up what we thought Buffalo was going to do and sure enough that’s exactly the play did” said coach Macho, “It’s disappointing that at that point in the game we take a dumb penalty. It’s unnecessary and lazy and it’s undisciplined.”
The clock wound down and time ran out for the Bison as Rosemount held the score to 3-2.
“We let the kids know it’s no time to panic; and they didn’t” explained coach Macho, “They responded well and we told them to block everything they could and kill as much of the clock as they could.”
The last two periods saw a completely different Rosemount team that showed up for the first while the Buffalo played a pretty consistent game.
“We started off good and we had a few good shifts” said coach MacMillan, “Our boys battled but we didn’t capitalize on our opportunities.”
1. Andy Gustafson, Rosemount
Gustafson netted the game winning power play goal and assisted on another to figure in on two of the three goals for Rosemount. Gustafson now has five points on the season.
2. Hank Fairchild, Rosemount
Fairchild stopped 24 shots en route to a 3-2 victory and a semi-final appearance. Fairchild made some blistering saves in the last few minutes of the game as Buffalo was applying serious pressure to try and tie things up.
3. Tyler Burg, Buffalo
Burg scored the Bison’s second goal with just 90 seconds left to bring his team within one goal. His sniped shot found its way through half the players on the ice and tucked itself right under the cross bar.