Colton Raymond redirected a hard pass from Brandon Hunt past the outstretched leg of goaltender Nathan Siclovan to give the Northland Pines Eagle a 2-1 victory over the SPASH Panthers at the ERRA Dome on Saturday afternoon.
Siclovan and his Eagles counterpart, Jacob Stephan had each given up just one goal to that point, making spectacular saves and thwarting opposition breakaways. Each faced 19 shots on the day, with Stephan making the one more save.
The teams battled back and forth within the cozy confines of the wooden arena, with the hometown Eagles scoring the only goal in a hard-hitting first period. Bailey Ramesh put a hard shot on Siclovan that the netminder thought he caught. But the puck hit off his wrist and dropped to the ice to his left, in front of a wide-open net. Zachery Kennedy wasted no time in flipping the puck into that net at 10:36 for a Northland Pines lead.
As the hitting continued in the second period, the elbows and sticks came up, and retaliation became the norm. Penalties were called. The Panthers had their first great scoring chance about 6 minutes into the period when Jared Hucke got behind the Pines defense and in alone on Stepan. He faked right and moved to his left for a forehand shot, but Stepan stayed right with him and denied the shot.
At 12:31 of the second, the Panthers got their first goal on a less great scoring chance. Tyler McHugh passed the puck from the corner toward the front of the net. It glanced off a Pines defender and made its way into the Eagles net to tie the game.
Early in the third period, Kennedy got behind the Point defense and came in on Siclovan all alone. He deked and went to his backhand, but Siclovan stayed right with him to deny his attempt.
Late in the period, Panther defenseman Mason Czaikowski was penalized to tackling Noah Weber. Sensing an opportunity Pines coach Charlie DePuydt called time out so he could get the players he wanted out on the ice and set up a play. The Eagles won the face-off and got the puck to Hunt, who threw it toward the top of the crease and a waiting Raymond, for the go-ahead goal at 11:29.