Huskies Win Playoff Opener in Double Overtime
Owatonna played a one-goal game with Rochester Century for the third time this season. And the third time was definitely the charm for the Huskies who beat the Panthers 3-2 in double overtime Thursday at Graham Arena to reach the Section 1AA semifinals for the third straight year. OHS also added evidence to the old adage that it's hard to beat a team three times in a season after 1-0 and 5-4 losses to the Panthers.
Early in the second overtime, Century thought they had scored the winner but had it waived off for the net being dislodged. Only a couple of minutes later Owatonna scored for real and celebrated in the corner of the rink before skating over to the impressive student section to enjoy the moment.
Dom Valento walked off the left wall with the puck and found Zach Kubicek on the back door for the game-winner. Casey Johnson also assisted on the play. Coach Josh Storm said afterward that he was proud how his team overcame adversity to earn the win.
The Huskies were playing without forward Collin Pederson and defenseman Brody Homan, who were each out with injury. Century scored with just over two minutes to go in the third to force OT after Owatonna led for most of the game.
Owatonna opened the scoring at 6:41 of the first period with Tommy Lehrer netting a power play goal off a great pass from Mathew DeHaan. Mason Oland also assisted. Storm complemented the senior connection that has been a big reason behind the Huskies success this season, which includes a second place finish in the Big Nine.
Century evened the game at 11:12 of the second on a wrap around goal. OHS regained the lead about two minutes later. Owatonna won a defensive zone face off and sprung a quick rush up the left wing. Valento fed the puck to Kubicek who found Casey Johnson in the high slot who buried the shot for a 2-1 lead that stood until the Panthers tied the game late.
Zach Wiese made 38 saves for the win, many fantastic stops against a high-scoring Panthers team that averaged about five goals per game this season. Century out shot Owatonna 40-32. OHS went 1-for-3 on the power and killed off both penalties that they took.
Owatonna (16-9-1) will play Lakeville North in Saturday's 2 pm semifinal at the Rec Center in Rochester. Hastings and Lakeville South meet in the other semifinal. The championship game is Thursday, February 28 at 7 pm.