Another staunch effort defensively and a late goal by Zach Fedie carried Stillwater to a 1-0 nonconference boys’ hockey victory over second-ranked Minnetonka on Thursday at the St. Croix Valley Rec Center.
The Ponies (2-2-1 SEC, 3-2-1) limited the high-powered and previously unbeaten Skippers (7-1) to just 18 shots on goal and senior net-minder Colton Anderson recorded his first shutout of the season.
“This was a big one, and we needed it,” Ponies coach Pete Hamilton said. “It was a great battle.”
The game remained tight throughout, but Zach Fedie scored his team-leading fourth goal of the season with just 27 seconds remaining to provide the game-winner. The goal was set up by Ian Weisbrod driving toward with the puck on the right side where he threw the puck on net from a bad angle. Skippers goaltender Paul Ciaccio made the initial stop, but Fedie was in position to knock in the rebound.
“It was basically what we’ve been talking about,” Hamilton said. “One of our goals was getting pucks to the net and hoping for a rebound and that’s exactly what happened. Ian didn’t choose a corner, he just shot it.”
Stillwater is unbeaten in its last four games since starting the season with consecutive losses and Thursday’s win came against a team that had outscored its previous seven opponents a combined 39-14.
“They’ve got some guys with like 20 points in eight games and they’ve got some good players,” Hamilton said. “Our goal was to be consistent and do those little things well and play together as a team and we’ve been able to do that. We’ve strung six periods together and mentally we’re getting stronger.”
Anderson finished with 18 saves, including a critical kick save late in the third period to thwart senior forward Max Coatta, who is one of the top players in the state.
“He didn’t see the odd-man rushes like we’ve had in the past, but he made some good saves and controlled the rebounds,” Hamilton said. “He put things in the corner and he was on his toes so you could tell he was on his game. He played the puck really well and had a great game.”
He had some help.
“Defensively, all six guys had their best game,” Hamilton added. “We blocked a ton of shots. We were in lanes and guys were selling out for the jersey, playing for each other and blocking shots. I was really impressed with our D, top to bottom, all six of them.”
Minnetonka 0 0 0 — 0
Stillwater 0 0 1 — 1
First period — No scoring.
Second period — No scoring.
Third period — 1. St, Zach Fedie (Ian Weisbrod) 16:33.
Penalties — Min, 3-6:00; St, 3-6:00.
Saves — Min (Paul Ciaccio) 8-4-4—16; St (Colton Anderson) 7-5-6—18.