There was no messing around. Just a business-like approach in the third period, holding onto a one-goal lead was the way Stillwater beat Roseville 2-1 on Jan. 22.
When Sam Casey tallied the game-winning goal just 27 seconds into the third, the Ponies did not take any chances messing around in their zone, even with highly skilled puck-movers in the back end.
As soon as the Raiders got the puck across the Ponies blue line, Stillwater broke out about as fast as it could.
“Went back to quick passes,” Ponies defenceman Kyle Mogren said. “They came with pressure and we had to move the puck out of the zone as fast as we could. Our plan was just to throw the puck on the net and not do too much. We had the lead and that is what we needed to do.”
Answering the bell early in the final period, after Roseville tied the game with just 26 seconds left in the second, Stillwater stayed aggressive and dominated the shot department 12-2 in the third and 27-17 for the game.
With the crisp passes and plan to get the puck deep from the neutral zone, the Ponies were able to maintain pressure and continue to force draws in the Raiders zone.
“Our first man in did a great job getting on them,” Ponies coach Phil Housley said. “From there we sustained some pressure and kept the puck in their zone.”
Constant play in the Roseville zone meant it would be tough to score.
“It’s hard to score from your own end,” Raiders goalie Brian Comiskey said. “I was pretty busy in the third and you would hope being down a goal that 12-2 in shots would be in our favor.”
It was an impressive final 17 minutes from Stillwater, being on the road and having momentum stripped from it just a matter of minutes before it took the ice to start the third.
Alex Hultman tipped in a shot from the point to tie the game and some life heading into the third.
Casey did not allow any hangover from the second and set the tone for the rest of the game.
“It was really important to score because they had the momentum,” Mogren said. “It was good to shut them down and bring their level down.”
“It was uplifting because mentally, the guys may have been a little down,” Housley added. “You never want to give up anything late, but I liked how they responded. They were challenged in the locker room and did a great job with it. I think we saw our team play a really solid third period. We moved the puck well and fore-checked well and got something off of it.”
In the first and second periods, Stillwater turned the puck over and gave Roseville some golden scoring chances, but were bailed out by either a Blake Cates save or back checkers coming back to help.
“We tried to do too much at times,” Housley said. “As the game progressed, I think we did a better job in doing the simple play to get the puck out.”
If Roseville capitalizes, the ice tilts in its favor and would have had a chance to leapfrog over the Ponies in the Suburban East (SEC) standings.
“I thought we had some chances and may have been surprised by the chances we had from their turnovers,” Roseville coach Jeff Pauletti said. “They have some skilled guys back there and don’t give the puck away that much.”
Those were the only chances Roseville had.
In the third, every Stillwater player that stepped foot on the ice took care of business in its end and made a one-goal game, stress free.
Cody Corbett (5-10-15) and Kyle Mogren (3-11-14) lead the Ponies in points this season and are also two of the strongest defenders as well.
On Jan. 22, both showed their offensive capabilities with a bevy of shots from just about every inch of the ice surface.
Corbett fired shots on goal early in the first period and was joined by Mogren, who eventually scored a power play goal on a blast from the point that was strong enough to get through traffic and get by Raiders goalie Brian
However, their scoring chances would not happen if they didn’t take care of business in the Ponies zone.
“I just want them to move the puck,” Housley said. “The other things will come. For us, it’s important for them to catch the other when they are not getting their fore-check on us. They just have to be smart about what they do.”
Housley made a career being an offensive-minded defenceman. So has he passed along his success to Corbett and Mogren.
“I don’t think so,” Mogren said. “We have our forwards do a lot of work for us and they have helped.”
The offensive production Corbett and Mogren have put out this season has caught the eye of Raiders coach Jeff Pauletti.
“Coming in we knew we had to limit their shots from their defense,” he said. “They got some good shots back there and it is important to not let them get too many on you.”
Stillwater has benefited from its two leading scorers and is right in the hunt or an SEC title.
“They’ve been great getting involved offensively whether that is in the cycle or shots from the point,” Housley said. “They will get rewarded by just moving the puck and being there for the forwards.”
Sam Casey scored just 27 seconds into the third period to give Stillwater a big conference win on the road against Roseville 2-1.
Kyle Mogren also scored for the Ponies on the power play in the second period.
Stillwater had a pretty quiet third period in its own end, despite being the team not needing to get a goal to tie the game.
Goalie Blake Cates had to only turn away two shots in the third period and faced 17 on the night.
Defense in front of Cates was solid all night, not allowing the Raiders to get many second chances at rebounds or any clear shots from the scoring areas.
Alex Hultman scored with 26 seconds left in the second to tie the game heading into the third period and it appeared that the Raiders would have the momentum, but the Ponies turned the tables on the home team.
Stillwater will take to the road on Jan. 27 at Woodbury, looking to build on a five-game winning streak. It is now 10-4-1 (8-2-1 SEC).
Roseville dropped to 8-5-4 (6-4-1 SEC) and will also play on Jan. 27 with a road game at Mounds View.
1. Kyle Mogren, Stillwater
Scored a power play goal in the second on a shot from the point that eventually got to the net. He also was able to get the Ponies out of trouble with a solid defensive game in his own end, stopping a breakaway chance with some determined hustle. Mogren was not shy in throwing the puck on net, unloading hard slap shots from just about every place on the ice.
2. Sam Casey, Stillwater
Casey’s goal just 27 seconds into the third period was the difference and proved that the Ponies were not going to let a late tally by Raiders in the second bother them. It also set the tone for the rest of the game where Stillwater was the aggressors even when it had to protect the lead.
3. Brian Comiskey, Roseville
Comiskey did just about everything he could. He stopped 25 of 27 shots on the night and both were not really clean goals. The first he allowed, barely even crossed the line. Comiskey gave Roseville every opportunity to tie the game in the third and was busy in the final period, facing 12 shots.