The first and last few minutes will leave a bitter taste for the Stillwater boys’ hockey team, but there was also some optimism for the Ponies following Tuesday’s roller coaster ride of a 4-3 Suburban East Conference overtime loss against White Bear Lake at the St. Croix Valley Rec Center.
The Ponies (6-9-2 SEC, 9-12-2) fell behind less than two minutes into the game and gave up three goals over a three-minute stretch late in the third period and the start of overtime to fall short against the Bears (11-5-1, 14-9-1).
“They beat us in the first five minutes and they beat us in the last five minutes, everything in between we dominated,” said Stillwater coach Phil Housley, “It’s unfortunate that it ended that way because we controlled the game, but it comes down to mistakes in coverage.”
The Bears controlled the early part of the game and Ben Wilke scored just 1:36 into the first period for a 1-0 lead. Stillwater recovered and put together a strong second period to take a 2-1 lead on goals by Tyler Fitzsimmons and Brandon Jungmann. Fitzsimmons swatted the waist-high puck right out of the air and past goaltender Chase Gorman midway through the period and Jungmann finished buried a perfect pass from Payton Hosch at 13:53 to grab the lead.
Jarrid Balz increased Stillwater’s lead to 3-1 at 6:22 of the third period and the Ponies appeared in control until the final minutes of regulation.
Jake Wahlin scored to cut White Bear Lake’s deficit to 3-2 with less than three minutes remaining and Seth King tied the game with just five minutes remaining after the Bears pulled their goal for the final minute.
“We couldn’t get a line change and that hurt us a little because we were caught out there,” Housley said.
The Bears did not dawdle in the extra session as Alex Bocchi scored just nine seconds in to provide the game-winner. The goal was set up by Wahlin taking the puck outwide and flipping a backhand on net, setting up Bocchi to tap in the rebound.
“It’s just some basic coverage, picking up guys,” Housley said. “There’s a lot of things we can take away from this and this is going to make us a much better team. In the back of our minds, it’s a positive that we know we can beat good teams.”
White Bear Lake 1 0 2 1 — 4
Stillwater 0 2 1 0 — 3
First period — 1. WBL, Ben Wilke (Seth King, Jake Dittel) 1:36.
Second period — 1. St, Tyler Fitzsimmons (Devin Cates) 7:10; 2. St, Brandon Jungmann (Payton Hosch) 13:53.
Third period — 3. St, Jarrid Balz (unassisted) 6:22; 2. WBL, Jake Wahlin (Alex Bocchi) 14:04; 3. WBL, King (Wahlin, Wilke) 16:55.
Overtime — 4. WBL, Bocchi (Tommy Giller, Wahlin) :09.
Penalties — WBL, 5-13:00; St, 5-10:00.
Saves — WBL (Chase Gorman) 6-5-6-0—17; St (Colton Anderson) 6-7-6-0—19.