COTTAGE GROVE — Hoping it turns into the start of a winning streak, the Stillwater boys’ hockey team held off Park 2-1 in Saturday’s Suburban East Conference game at Cottage Grove Ice Arena to snap a five-game losing skid. It marked the first victory for the Ponies (5-7-1 SEC, 8-9-1) defeating East Ridge at the same rink on Jan. 5.
“I thought it was extremely important, just for the pysche of the team,” Ponies coach Phil Housley said. “When you get into a bit of a slump and with the injuries we’ve had over the past 10 days, I thought the guys needed something to remind them that they were a good team. We’ve got to work our way through it.”
The Ponies fell behind 1-0 in the first period, but scored twice in the second and goaltender Colton Anderson did the rest while turning away 32 shots.
Mitch Reinke scored on the power play at 11:07 of the second on an assist by Brandon Jungmann and Sam Sagissor recorded his first varsity goal with just 34 seconds remaining in the period to provide the game-winner. Sagissor’s goal was set up with an assist from Nick Anderson.
“We got the important first goal on the power play and then we capitalized on a 2-on-1 with a nice feed to Sagissor,” Housley said.
Sagissor and Blake Burridge are among the players taking advantage of the rash of injuries that have plagued the Ponies in recent weeks.
“These guys are playing well and they’re making the best of it, that’s good to see,” Housley said. “Things are going in the right direction. We have (Tyler) Fitzsimmons coming back and (Wyatt) Stotts is coming back so help is coming and it will help to have some experience back in the lineup.”
The shots were even throughout much of the game, although Stillwater did enjoy a 27-21 edge during the second and third periods.
“Colton Anderson and our defense did a good job of boxing out and you just have to stick with the game plan,” Housley said. “I was proud of the way our guys fought. For the most part, we held them on the perimeter. (Anderson) had to make some saves, but I don’t think the shots were indicative of the shots we had, especially in the third period. We went into the locker room 2-1 and we had some quality scoring chances that we have to finish to put that game away, but we didn’t panic. I really liked the way we played away from the puck defensively and paying the price to win and getting into shooting lanes, and that’s what it’s going to be like down the stretch.”
Kyle Strand finished with 32 shots in goal for the Wolfpack (1-10-1, 2-15-1).
Stillwater 0 2 0 — 2
Park 1 0 0 — 1
First period — 1. Par, Eric Stoffel (Alex Kielsa) 9:06.
Second period — 1. St, Mitch Reinke (Brandon Jungmann) pp, 11:07; 2. St, Sam Sagissor (Nick Anderson) 16:26.
Third period — No scoring.
Penalties — St, 5-10:00; Par, 6-12:00.
Saves — St (Colton Anderson) 11-11-10—32; Par (Kyle Strand) 7-14-11—32.