Century Rallies Late Past Owatonna
Rochester Century scored a pair of third period goals to edge Owatonna 2-1 in a key Big Nine Conference and section seeding game Thursday night at Graham Arena. It's the fifth straight one-goal game in the series. OHS coach Josh Storm believes there is a better than decent chance the teams will meet in the playoffs as well. The Huskies beat the Panthers last season in the section tournament in double overtime after getting swept in the regular season.
Storm said after the game, "I thought it was a really exciting game. I was really pleased with how our guys played. I thought they played really hard. They handled most of the play. It just didn't work out and that happens sometimes. But I was very, very pleased with our kids preparation and how they handled themselves today."
Owatonna did not lack scoring chances Thursday with 43 shots on goal, including a number of grade-A opportunities on rebounds or flurries in front of senior goalie Tim Pundt. "I think their goalie played really well. I think he had a huge night for their team. He kept them in it. I thought our guys did a great job of getting pucks to the net and getting rebounds. Sometimes it clicks sometimes it doesn't...We were laughing on the bench at some point that these weren't going in." Tanner Stendel put the Huskies on the board at 11:02 of the first period on a scramble at the net.
The score stayed that way until Century cashed in a power play goal at 7:51 of the third. Gavin Gunderson scored that one and added the game-winner with two-and-a-half minutes left in the game on a spinning play around senior Zach Wiese, who made 33 saves, including some from point blank range.
Storm commented on the strong fan turnout for the game in Rochester, "Everybody I talked to all week, it seemed like they were coming to the game, and they definitely showed up. It was pretty neat. That place was packed." Hear more of coach Storm's reaction to the game on the AM 1390 KRFO Coaches Show Saturday morning at 9 am.
Mathematically, Owatonna is still in the hunt for their first Big Nine title since 1992-93, but they need help. Century has a four-point game against Northfield Saturday night and still has Winona on their schedule. Owatonna hosts Rochester Mayo Saturday afternoon, Faribault Monday night in a makeup game, and goes to Mankato East Tuesday to close out conference play.
The Huskies also have a big section seeding game Saturday, February 15 against Hastings at Four Seasons Centre in Owatonna.