Boys Hockey: Feisty Wingers fall in OT
Red Wing believed that if they could do the little things right, they could stick with the 20th-ranked (1A) New Prague on Tuesday.
And with a first-period goal by Alex Rezansoff, the Wingers' mindset switched: they could upset the Trojans.
"We competed hard, played good defense at the end," Rezansoff said. "Everyone was giving 110 percent out there; there was no quit in our game."
New Prague forced the game into overtime, and Jack Pexa put the Trojans over the top with the game-winning goal 4 minutes, 36 seconds into the extra period to come away with the 2-1 Missota Conference victory.
The scoreboard didn't come away in Red Wing's favor, but head coach Mike Belisle said that on Tuesday, the Wingers proved they are a good team.
"We didn't come away with a 'W,' but a loss to New Prague in overtime late in the year says a lot to everyone what Red Wing brings to the table," Belisle said.
Right away, the Wingers (3-19-2, 3-8-2 Missota) came out the more aggressive team, killing off an early penalty and holding a 12-9 shot advantage in the first period.
At 9:26, Rezansoff got behind the Trojans' defense for a breakaway, snapping a backhand past goaltender Evan Bisek to put Red Wing up 1-0. Anthony Kimmes tallied an assist on the play.
"I saw their defense was sagging so I snuck in behind them," Rezansoff said. "Anthony Kimmes had good vision there and set up a good saucer pass and I got it in."
Trailing after one period, New Prague (14-8-2, 11-1-1 Missota) took to the ice angry, looking to assert itself with a feisty forecheck that kept Red Wing out of the offensive zone. But the Wingers' defense was able to stave off the Trojans' attack with a scoreless second period.
"We can compete with any team in the conference when we play like that," said Red Wing defenseman Michael Bigelbach. "We just had to grind it out every shift, give 100 percent, take the body and do the little things."
Through two periods, the confidence was brimming for Red Wing.
"When I look at our end of the table, it was the three big things we did consistently: we played the body, we got the puck on net when we needed to, and we managed the puck tremendously to take away their transition game that they love to use," Belisle said. "We played with some grit tonight."
After a Red Wing penalty early in the third period, New Prague finally got on the board at 3:57 when Pexa launched a wrist shot from the point, tying the game at 1-1.
The Wingers had one more prime opportunity to retake the lead with 6:23 left in the game when Tyler Rea got loose for a breakaway try. But Rea's wrister was snatched by a lunging Bisek, who finished with 30 saves.
In the extra period, the Trojans came out with urgency, out-shooting the Wingers 7-2. And with 3:24 remaining in overtime, Pexa received the puck at the right circle and let loose with a wrist shot. The puck beat Red Wing goalie Preston Blaney and sent New Prague home with a win.
"That one at the end, it's just one of those where they throw the puck at the net and it finds the back," Belisle said. "These games can go either way. We checked off a lot of the little things we need to do to be successful when the run comes for sections."
The Wingers close out the regular season Thursday at Chaska.