Mahtomedi tops Titans in overtime

n between the first 20 seconds and the last 20 seconds of the Classic Suburban Conference boys hockey game Jan. 19 at Tartan Arena, fans were treated to a 0-0 contest.

The Mahtomedi Zephyrs scored just 19 seconds into the game. The scoreboard remained “Visitors 1 - Home 0” until there were 20 seconds remaining.

Suddenly, the Tartan frustration ended when they finally dented the armor of Mahtomedi senior net-minder Phil Poeschl at 16:40 of the final canto.

The horn sounded to end regulation with the teams deadlocked at one. The horn also sounded on what appeared to be another night of frustration for the Zephyrs.

Mahtomedi came into the contest having lost their last four games to conference opponents. An overtime loss would be another thorn into an open wound.

It was not to be. With a rare overtime penalty assessed to the Titans, the Zephyrs were able to garner a power play goal and pull off a 2-1 victory.

“Monkey?” Mahtomedi mentor Jeff Poeschl asked. “It’s been more like a gorilla we’ve just shed from our back. It was beginning to feel like ‘King Kong’. “

When asked to assess the play of his goaltender (who happens to be coach Poeschl’s son, Phil) the Mahtomedi coach said, “He did his job. He stood tall and stopped everything they threw at him. Up until the goal at the end, he did everything you could have asked of him.”

Tartan out-shot the Zephyrs 34-17 and many of them were from point blank range.

But for Mahtomedi, the game was more than that. “Our defense stepped up did a great job,” Poeschl said. “Our penalty kill was great tonight. When they got that goal at the end, our kids could have folded, but they didn’t. I’m proud of them. Our defense played extremely well. We had a solid team effort and it finally paid off for us.”

It was a disappointing loss from the Tartan perspective. Aside from some choice thoughts on the penalty that offered Mahtomedi the power play opportunity, Tartan coach John Humphrey stated, “You have to get the bounces. We didn’t tonight. This was a tough loss. It hurt. We have been able to overcome a lot of things and win these close games. It wasn’t to be tonight.”

When asked about the play of the goalies, Humphrey offered praise to both Poeschl and to Tartan goalie Noah Malmquist.

“(Malmquist’s) played well in every game he’s been in. You can’t fault him. Hey, they had one shot and one goal. After that he was tall in the net. We can’t score goals behind him. We just didn’t get the bounces.”

The opening goal of the contest came so fast, I was not finished finding a spot in my notebook for the action.

However, an “astute observer” noted that the first rush up ice after the initial face off saw Ben Adams pull the puck back to Taylor Jordan, who fed the disc to Stew Cristan.

Cristan headed into the mid slot area and, according to the astute observer, “sent a shot low on the ice. It went across the goal line inside the left post. It circled the back of the net and came right back out.”

Cristan’s tally came just 19 seconds into the game.

The teams played level until late in the third period. Tartan owned the edge in territorial rights, but not in scoring.

The Titans had pulled their goalie in favor of a sixth attacker and were bombarding Poeschl and the Mahtomedi goal.

Tartan junior defenseman Garrett Larson sent the puck behind the goal to Ryan Furne. The Tartan captain made a quick move to the inside rim of the circle to the left of the Mahtomedi net.

A quick pivot, a step toward the goal and Furne blistered a sizzler. His quick-wrister found a narrow slot, just under the cross bar on the short side.

At 16:40, the score was suddenly back to where the game began: all even, this time at 1-1.

Three short minutes of rest and the horn sounded all too soon for the exhausted players on both sides.

A penalty, called at 16:51 of the third period, left the Zephyrs a man-short for nearly two minutes to start the extra session.

They were able to skate off the penalty and the teams wore away at one another.

Then came the break the Zephyrs were able to take advantage of. Along the boards to the left of the Mahtomedi net, a Titan was called for roughing.

The penalty came 5:47 into the overtime session. Just 11 seconds later, on the rush following the ensuing face off, Chad Mars pulled the puck to Taylor Jordan who fed to Cristan.

The senior forward sent a sizzler to the back twines for his second tally of the contest. At 5:58 into the overtime canto, the game was over. The Mahtomedi Zephyrs claimed the 2-1 triumph that ended their 4-game skid.

With the win, Mahtomedi edged their season mark to 5-9-1 overall and to 3-4-1 in CSC play.

The loss dropped the Titans to 6-6-1 overall and to 4-4 in the conference.

Next up Mahtomedi will travel to meet Sibley on Jan. 28 in a 2 p.m. scheduled game at Wakota Arena. The Zephyrs will finish the season at home (they play their home games at the St. Croix Arena) when they host Simley on Feb. 2 and St. Thomas at 1 p.m. on Feb. 4.

The Titans will round out the season Jan. 26 when they host Richfield at Tartan Arena. They go up against Hill-Murray, 8 p.m., Jan. 28 at Aldrich Arena. The Titans return to Tartan Arena for a 3 p.m., Feb. 2 contest against Sibley before finishing at Wakota Arena on Feb. 4 when they play South St. Paul.

Games, unless otherwise noted, are 7:30 p.m. scheduled starts.

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