After ending a five-game skid earlier this week the Stillwater boys’ hockey program was hoping to build some momentum going forward, but Thursday brought more of the same from the past few weeks as East Ridge stopped the Ponies 2-1 in a Suburban East Conference game at the St. Croix Valley Rec Center.
“I guess we need more desperation in our game,” Ponies coach Phil Housley said. “When you’ve only won one game in the last six and you have seven remaining we have an opportunity to move up in teh standings and I just thought we didn’t have that desperation throughout 51 minuts. There were spurts here and there, but we have to be more consistent in our game.”
The Ponies (5-8-1 SEC, 8-10-1) jumped out to a 1-0 lead at 15:19 of the first on a goal by Brandon Jungmann. Stillwater outshot the Raptors 11-4 in the opening period, but could not carry that over into the rest of the game.
“I’ll give credit where credit is due, because (East Ridge) finished every check and got the puck deep when they needed to,” Housley said. “When you play that game and you’re patient adn stick to your game plan it seems the breaks come your way and we didn’t have that for 51 minutes.”
The turning point came with less than a second remaining in the second period as Ian Penvose chipped a shot past Stillwater goaltender Colton Anderson to tie the game. It happened quickly as the Ponies had control of the puck in the neutral zone before coughing it up the Raptors to set up the late push and tying goal.
“That’s a momentum changer,” Housley said. “It gives them life goingo into the locker room and in our locker room now we have to regroup adn go back to the things we were successful at. That’s a big difference in the game. It’s not the reason we lost the game, but it certainly has an effect mentally on your team.”
Jacob Behnken then provided the game-winner at 11:44 of the third period on an assist by Devin Donohue.
“It goes back to if you stick with the game plan and follow through with it,” Housley said. “With the inconsistency, eventually somebody is going to crack and right now we’re making the mistakes, whether it’s coverage or not getting the pucks deep or taking penalties — all these things are coming back to haunt us right now.”
East Ridge 0 1 1 — 2
Stillwater 1 0 0 — 1
First period — 1. Brandon Jungmann (Tyler Fitzsimmons, Devin Cates) 15:19.
Second period — 1. ER, Ian Penvose (Steven Fronek) 16:59.
Third period — 2. ER, Jacob Behnken (Devin Donohue) 11:44.
Penalties — ER, 3-11:00; St, 7-16:00.
Saves — ER (Tyler Guck) 10-7-2—19; St (Colton Anderson) 4-8-3—15.
Contact Stuart Groskreutz at email@example.com