After falling out of the Suburban East Conference race, the Stillwater boys’ hockey team can still have a say down the stretch with games against each of the leading contenders.
The Ponies skated to a 2-all tie against Mounds View on Saturday at the St. Croix Valley Rec Center, dropping the Mustangs (9-3-3 SEC, 12-6-3) three points behind Cretin-Derham Hall (12-3-0, 14-6-2) and into a tie for second place with White Bear Lake (10-4-1, 13-8-1).
Stillwater (5-8-2, 8-10-2) can continue to impact the SEC race after facing Roseville on Thursday and then closing out conference play with games against Cretin-Derham Hall and White Bear Lake.
“If we can play like that the rest of the year heading into sections, this is a great starting point after what we’ve been through with injuries and players out of the lineup,” Ponies coach Phil Housley said. “I think we realize that we have to play a certain way, but when we play a certain way we can compete with anybody and it was great to see some players break out.”
Nick Anderson provided both goals for the Ponies, including a power play tally at 2:06 of the second period for a 1-0 lead.
Jacob Tretsven scored less than two minutes into the third period to tie the game, but Anderson struck again for the Ponies at 4:40 with an assist by Tyler Fitzsimmons to provide a 2-1 lead.
“I think Nick Anderson had a very good game. He needed that for himself to get back on track and, just like a lot of players who maybe weren’t on the scoreboard, but they’re contributing in meaningful ways.”
Max Knutson delivered the tying goal for Mounds View with less than three minutes remaining.
Colton Anderson made five of his 34 saves in overtime for the Ponies, who defeated Mounds View 9-1 earlier this season.
“Mounds View has some very good players and they’re pretty deep,” Housley said. “That’s what was so good about the game, I thought we out-chanced them and competed.”
Eleven of Stillwater’s 20 games this season have been decided by one goal or less, but the Ponies are only 3-6-2 in those games.
“We would have liked to have won the game, but I really liked the way we played and the way we competed,” Housley said. “I think right from our goaltender all the way, everybody contributed. When you take three out of four points from Mounds View, which is a verygood hockey team, that’s something you can hang your hat on.”
Mounds View 0 0 2 0 — 2
Stillwater 0 1 1 0 — 2
First period — No scoring.
Second period — 1. St, Nick Anderson (Wyatt Stotts, Josh Clark) pp, 2:06.
Third period — 1. MV, Jacob Tretsven (Ryan Elvidge, Andrew Bjorklund) 1:44; 2. St, Anderson (Tyler Fitzsimmons) 4:40; 2. MV, Max Knutson (unassisted) 14:10.
Overtime — No scoring.
Penalties — MV, 3-9:00; St, 3-6:00.
Saves — MV (Brandon Smith) 11-14-9-3—37; St (Colton Anderson) 9-7-13-5—34.