COTTAGE GROVE — Trailing by a goal on two occasions Saturday, the Stillwater boys’ hockey team relied on the same balanced scoring and stingy defense to pull out a 5-2 Suburban East Conference victory over East Ridge at Cottage Grove Ice Arena.
The Ponies (4-2-1 SEC, 7-4-1), who are unbeaten in their past five conference games after starting the season with consecutive losses, scored four unanswered goals to overcome a 2-1 deficit against the Raptors (2-4-1, 5-7-1).
Colton Anderson turned away 30 shots in goal for Stillwater, which has limited its opponents to two goals or fewer in seven of 12 games this season and is allowing a league-low 1.8 goals per game — no other SEC team is allowing fewer than three goals per contest.
“We’ve always been pretty stingy,” Ponies coach Pete Hamilton said. “We’re stingy defensively and are spread out scoring-wise, so it’s hard to key on one line or one guy.”
Stillwater fell behind 2-1 in the second period of a penalty-filled game — the teams combined for 17 infractions — when Luke Ringhofer scored on the power play 23 seconds into the period.
Josh Clark evened the score for the Ponies on assists by Mitch Reinke and Jon Peterson before Brandon Jungmann scored the first of his two goals to provide a 3-2 lead with three minutes remaining in the period.
Jon Heddle provided some breathing room with another Stillwater goal in the opening minute of the third and Jungmann struck again with an empty-net tally to close out the scoring with about a minute remaining.
“It was a solid game and it was nice to see the kids grow in a lot of different areas,” Hamilton said. “Playing from down one goal on two different occasions, mentally you’re going to need to be able to do that. We had guys continue to believe and buy and we’re continuing to put up some goals.”
After falling behind early in the first period, Nick Anderson scored on the power play for Stillwater to pull even at 1-all in the first.
Stillwater 1 2 2 — 5
East Ridge 1 1 0 — 2
First period — 1. ER, Jack Greeley (Steven Fronek, Jacob Nickoloff) pp, 3:26; 1. St, Nick Anderson (Zach Fedie) pp, 10:38.
Second period — 2. ER, Luke Ringhofer (Greeley, Ryan McDonough) pp, :23; 2. St, Josh Clark (Mitch Reinke, Jon Peterson) 6:34; 3. St, Brandon Jungmann (Devin Cates) 13:52.
Third period — 4. St, Jon Heddle (Fedie, Clark) :36; 5. St, Jungmann (Cates) en, 16:07.
Penalties — St, 8-19; ER, 9-21:00.
Saves — St (Colton Anderson) 9-14-7—30; ER (Tyler Guck) 14-9-8—31.