Century Stops Owatonna in Hockey Playoffs
In two games at Graham Arena this season against Rochester Century, Owatonna was credited with 98 shots on goal. Only two of those shots got past Panthers senior goalie Tim Pundt. On Thursday he made 52 saves while Century eliminated the Huskies from the Section 1AA playoffs 5-1.
The loss ends the Huskies season at 19-7 and short of the section semifinals for the first time in several years. Owatonna coach Josh Storm said the team had chances but didn't capitalize, "Go down on a 3-on-1 and have a good opportunity, and they come back on their own and score. They took advantage of their opportunities and I don't know that we did, and their goalie played really, really well. You've got to tip your cap to him. He had a really nice night."
The game was scoreless after the first period with Owatonna holding a 22-9 shot advantage. Century scored on a power play 3:33 into the second period as Gavin Gunderson scored the first of his three goals. The Panthers scored a pair of goals in the closing two minutes of the second period to take a 3-0 into the second intermission locker room.
Owatonna was on the power play to open the third period but didn't score. Century added to its lead right after getting back to even strength on a long drive from the point that was tipped it for a 4-0 lead.
The Huskies scored on a backdoor play with Tanner Stendel scoring off his skate with Austin Mundt and Wyatt Oldenfendt getting assists with just under five minutes remaining to make the score 4-1.
Owatonna pulled their goalie with about three minutes to go and Century tacked on Gunderson's hat trick tally for the 5-1 final.
Storm added, "It shouldn't define the season by any means. Look at the seniors. I think they had just fantastic careers...I'm sad I'm not leaving for practice after school today because I love showing up to the rink everyday with these kids."
The Huskies have three seniors on their roster with Zach Wiese, Collin Pederson, and Mundt. Owatonna finished second in the Big Nine standings just behind the Panthers who won the title for the third straight season.
The Panthers advance to the semifinals Saturday, February 22 against Lakeville South at the Rec Center at 5:30 pm. Lakeville North and Hastings meet in the late semifinal. The title game is Thursday, February 27 at 7 pm.