The Owatonna High School girls hockey team won a share of the Big Nine Conference championship Thursday night with a 2-1 overtime win at Northfield. It's the Huskies first conference crown since the 2010-2011 season. They will share it with the Raiders who won the outright title last season.

A short time after being denied on a point blank, one-on-oh with goalie Maggie Malecha, OHS junior Anna Herzog tipped in a blast by Grace Wolfe from the point for the game-winner 5:29 into the eight-minute extra session. Abby Vetsch also assisted on the conference-clinching goal.

Herzog said afterward, "Oh my gosh. It's just amazing. I can't even explain it right now. It's so cool. We got the Big Nine champs in soccer and now in hockey. It's unbelievable. Grace shot it on I just got in front of the net and got a stick on it, deflected it in. It's awesome."

The Huskies had tied the game midway through the second period on a similar shot from Wolfe that hit traffic in front of the net. The puck sat on the inner rim of the left circle for a few heartbeats until Syd Hunst located it and shot it in. Vetsch also assisted on that goal.

Huskies coach Tony Cloud said, "Luckily we were able to find the puck. It was in traffic. Nobody knew where it was. Syd Hunst found it on the back of her stick and was able to fire it in the net. It was a great opportunity for her to be able to get it and shoot right away. We're lucky it got through the legs again on that."

Northfield had scored four minutes into the first period. The goal came shortly after the Huskies lost a player to injury and Cloud says the players minds were still engaged with that.

Each team had a number of excellent scoring chances, but Malecha and OHS senior Asia Buryska each turned in numerous highlight-reel saves.

Cloud reacted to the conference crown, "Oh man. It was a great game. It was fun for our girls. We had a blast and we worked really hard to get ourselves to this point. And then to get to go out there and win the game in overtime, what better way to finish it."

Herzog also scored an overtime game winner against Faribault earlier this season, each was critical to Owatonna winning its eighth overall Big Nine girls hockey title and first since 2010-2011.

Section seedings will be announced on Sunday. Cloud believes it's likely the Owatonna and Northfield could meet again as the four and five seeds. Northfield beat Owatonna 4-0 in mid-December.

The Owatonna boys hockey squad kept alive their Big Nine title hopes with a 4-3 overtime win over Northfield on Dudley Otto Rink at Four Seasons Centre. Collin Pederson scored the game winner 22 seconds in the extra session.

OHS had jumped ahead 3-0 early in the second period then got hit with numerous penalties. Northfield went 1-for-8 on the power play. The Raiders tied the game with two-and-a-half minutes left in regulation.

The Huskies host Mankato West Tuesday, February 4 with coverage on AM 1390 KRFO.



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