The action was on the west end of the rink, but the scoring all occurred on the east side as the SPASH Panthers downed the Antigo Red Robins 2-1 at the Langlade County Ice Arena on Tuesday night.
The west end of the rink in Antigo, or the left side as you face it from the bleachers, is the side with the home team bench, in front of the home team student section. Those fans got to witness a lot of great goal tending in this contest, the first of the season for both teams.
The Panthers came out of the gates flying, dominating time of possession, and out-shooting the Robins 16 to 6 in the first period. Antigo had a couple of good scoring opportunities on Point net-minder , Spencer Wierzba, but Robin goaltender Brody Bunnell had a much busier opening frame, including a sequence of shots which resulted in a sprawling Bunnell throwing whatever body parts were available in front of the puck. But the goalies prevailed and the game was scoreless after 17 minutes.
The teams changed ends and roles for the second period with the Robins playing the part of the aggressor, out-shooting the Panthers 14 to 5. It was time for Wierzba to show his stuff in front of the Antigo student body.
The only scoring in the second period came on the other end, with SPASH on the power play. Dayne Hoyard took a pass from Barrett Brooks at his own blue line and headed up the center of the ice. To say that he split the Antigo defensemen would be an under-statement, and a gross injustice to Mr. Hoyard. As Hoyard crossed the Robin blue line, he burned the first Antigo defender and then toasted the second to get free and come in on Bunnell all alone. A quick fake to the left and move to his right had Bunnell down and the puck on its way to the back of the net at 11:54.
The teams went back to their original sides for the third period, and Point regained the role of the aggressor, again out-shooting Antigo 12 to 4. Again Bunnell was up to the task, keeping the Robins net clean.
The only scoring in the third period was at the other end and came with SPASH again on the power play. Adam Schmidt blocked a shot from the point and beat the defenseman to the loose puck. CJ Levis recognized what was happening and sprinted up the center of the ice. Schmidt got to the puck and flipped a backhand pass up to Levis with a clear lane to the SPASH net. Levis put a move on Wierzba and the game was all tied up at 6:34 in the third.
Overtime had the team switching ends again, but not roles, as the Panthers continued on the attack, out-shooting the Robins 6-1 in OT. Eli Haas netted the game winner from the high slot with a shot that Bunnell was able to get his glove on, but not hang onto.