Stillwater’s struggles in close games this season continued on Saturday as the Ponies dropped a 4-3 overtime decision against Forest Lake in a Suburban East Conference boys’ hockey game at the St. Croix Valley Red Center.
The Ponies (4-5-1 SEC, 7-7-1) gave up the tying goal to Jack Schmidt with just 16 seconds remaining in the third period and he also converted on a 3-on-1 at 6:37 of overtime to lift the Rangers (5-6-0, 10-8-0) to a victory.
It marked the third consecutive loss for the Ponies, who dropped to 2-5-1 in one-goal games this season — including 0-4-1 in conference play.
“We certainly have been on the short end of the stick, unlike last year,” Ponies coach Phil Housley said. “I just think we’re making key mistakes or decisions at the wrong time of the game.”
Mitch Reinke and Jon Peterson provided first-period goals as Stillwater took a 2-1 lead on Saturday and Jon Heddle scored three minutes into the second period for a two-goal cushion.
Forest Lake’s rally started while skating short-handed in the final minute of the second period when Noah Brown scored to pull within 3-2. Schmidt then scored the first of his two late goals in the third to pull even at 3-all.
“I thought we were in control the whole game and I thought we played a heck of a game,” Housley said. “We put ourselves in position to win, now we’ve got to finish it. These things are correctable.”
Colton Anderson saved 22 shots for the Ponies.
Forest Lake 1 1 1 1 — 4
Stillwater 2 1 0 0 — 3
First period — 1. FL, Cody Rogala (Weston Kipela, Brett Gravelle) 2:25; 1. St, Mitch Reinke (Jon Peterson, Brandon Jungmann) pp, 9:36; 2. St, Peterson (Devin Cates, Reinke) 14:19.
Second period — 3. St, Jon Heddle (unassisted) 3:10; 2. FL, Noah Brown (Gravelle, Kipela) sh, 16:07.
Third period — 3. FL, Jack Schmidt (Gravelle, Kyle Parker) 16:44.
Overtime — 4. FL, Schmidt (Parker, Trevor Thompson) 6:37.
Penalties — FL, 4-8:00; St, 6-20:00.
Saves — FL (Jesse Garcia) 18; St (Colton Anderson) 22.