Ponies and Rangers Tie at the Forest Lake Sports Center
On Thursday night, the Stillwater Ponies and Forest Lake Rangers battled 90 minutes to a 2-2 standstill. Despite a contentious third period, neither could put the puck in the net for a game-winning goal. The tie kept the visiting Ponies (8-1-1) one place above the home team Rangers (7-3-1) in the Suburban East.
The first period was a scoreless, defense-heavy affair.
Forest Lake dominated possession during the opening 20 minutes, but Stillwater goaltender #30 Tomas Anderson stopped all 12 shots headed his way. A tripping penalty to Forest Lake’s #19 Gavin Middendorf gave Stillwater a chance to pull ahead, but they only managed 6 shots during the entire period.
Stillwater’s fortunes turned early in the second, as #14 Alex Corbett put one past Forest Lake goalie #1 Casey Suave on even strength at 2:31. #11 Ty Tuccitto and #24 Riley Skuza assisted on the goal.
The goal energized Stillwater to stay strong throughout the period, even as Forest Lake continued to outshoot them.
Despite seven minutes on the penalty kill, thanks to a 2-minute interference penalty assessed to Tuccitto at 3:08 and a 5-minute checking from behind major given to defensemen #7 Bo Dustin at 13:33, Stillwater held their one-goal lead going into the third.
Forest Lake came out swinging in the third period, peppering Anderson with a five-shot flurry in the opening minutes. But not only did another power play (after Stillwater forward #8 Carter Bies earned 2 minutes for slashing) fail to even the score, but a goal from #34 Gunner Arens put the visitors up 2-0.
The second goal made an already contentious game grow more heated, as six penalties were given to the teams over the next ten minutes: roughing at 4:30 to Forest Lake defenseman #21 Matthew Linder, tripping and interference minors to Stillwater defenseman #18 Daniel Roeske at 6:42 and 10:08, and then a set of roughing penalties at 14:29, including matching two-minute minors for Forest Lake’s #12 Hunter Johnson and Stillwater’s Skuza as well as a four-minute double minor to Tuccitto.
Despite the man advantages, Forest Lake continued to trail Stillwater until #10 Jackson Maas put one past Anderson at 14:37 (assists from #5 Chase Osterberg and #16 Connor Brust) and defenseman Brust tied it up less than a minute later (assist Osterberg).
A tripping penalty to Forest Lake defenseman #42 Evan Dzurik opened the extra period, an advantage that Stillwater used to put four quick shots on goal.
But Suave blocked them all, helping his team hold onto a hard-fought point in the standings.
The Rangers hope for a more decisive outcome in their next game against Roseville on 2/20.
The Ponies look forward to visiting the Woodbury Royals on 2/19.