ST. PAUL — Taking advantage of two major penalties by Stillwater in the third period, Cretin-Derham Hall scored two power play goals about a minute apart in the third to pull out a 3-1 Suburban East Conference boys’ hockey victory on Saturday at Charles M. Schulz-Highland Arena.
The loss snapped a five-game unbeaten streak in conference play for the Ponies (4-3-1 SEC, 7-5-1), who recently climbed into the Let’s Play Hockey Class AA state rankings at No. 19. The victory keeps Cretin-Derham Hall (7-2-0, 9-5-1) in a tie for first place in the SEC standings with Mounds View (6-1-2, 10-2-2).
“That was a key game for us to stay in the hunt. Now we’re back in the pack, which we still have control but we’re going to need some help,” said Ponies coach Phil Housley, who was back coaching the Ponies in their first game since he returned from leading Team USA to a gold medal in the IIHF World Junior Championships in Russia.
Stillwater was in a reasonable position to extend its conference unbeaten streak, but took five-minute checking from behind and boarding penalties about a minute apart in the third period. Joe Dekker and Jim Buckingham made the Ponies pay with power play goals at 7:04 and 8:15 to provide a 3-1 lead.
“I thought we played a heck of a game,” Housley said. “We had a slow start, but we recovered and had a good, solid second period and then we took an undisciplined penalty and then another undisciplined penalty and they got two power play goals. It’s a valuable lesson to learn.”
Buckingham also scored for the Raiders with less than three minutes remaining in the first period, but the Ponies answered with a goal from Tyler Fitzsimmons at 11:34 of the second on assists by Brandon Jungmann and Devin Cates. The Ponies outshot Cretin-Derham Hall 10-3 in the second period.
“We were getting a lot of quality scoring chances,” Housley said. “I thought for the most part we had the better scoring chances and we hit two posts.”
Making his second start of the season, Pat Courteau finished with 17 saves in goal for the Ponies in place of Colton Anderson, who suffered concussion in a victory over East Ridge on Jan. 5.
“Pat did a heck of a job stepping in and he gave us what we needed to win a hockey game,” Housley said.
n Saturday’s setback against Cretin-Derham Hall was not the only loss for the Ponies last week as junior defenseman Jake Cass left the team to play for the Indiana Ice of the United States Hockey League. Cass, who recorded five goals and 13 assists for 18 points a year ago, contributed two goals and five assists through 12 games this season. Housley said the team will not dwell on the departure.
“I thought it was bad timing during the season, but he made a decision that was best for Jake Cass. I think it was unfair to the rest of our team,” said Housley, who said the team will not dwell on the departure.
Cass was originally drafted by the Omaha Lancers in the fifth round of last spring’s Futures Draft, but was included in a trade to the Ice in December. He made his USHL debut in Sunday’s 6-4 win over the Green Bay Gamblers. Prior to playing for Stillwater, he played for the Shattuck-St. Mary’s bantam team.
Stillwater 0 1 0 — 1
Cretin-Derham Hall 1 0 2 — 3
First period — 1. C-DH, Jim Buckingham (Cole Gnetz, Nick Reis) 14:26.
Second period — 1. St, Tyler Fitzsimmons (Brandon Jungmann, Devin Cates) 11:34.
Third period — 2. C-DH, Joe Dekker (Buckingham, Patrick Cullen) pp, 7:04; 3. C-DH, Buckingham (Dekker, Bret Huebner) pp, 8:15.
Penalties — St, 4-14:00; C-DH, 5-10:00.
Saves — St (Pat Courteau) 6-3-8—17; C-DH (Trent Jancze) 6-9-9—24.