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Last Goal Wins: SCSU’s Jensen Ends OT Thriller

Huskies Topple Second-Ranked Tigers

— Coming out with a little more bite than the Tigers could handle, the St. Cloud State Huskies upset No. 2 Colorado College, 4-3, in an overtime thriller in front of 7,047 at the World Arena.

With neither team holding more than a one-goal advantage in the 60-minute back-and-forth battle for the lead, regulation ended in a 3-3 tie for the WCHA rivals.

Joe Jensen scored the game-winner with just 13 seconds remaining in the extra session for the SCSU victory, which puts the Huskies in sole possession of ninth place in the WCHA standings after winning three of their last four games, while CC’s conference lead over Denver diminished to one point.

“We had the great start in the first period and I felt that we were playing fairly even with them — we really should have been up after two,” said SCSU coach Craig Dahl. “In the third period, I thought we played extremely well again and when we were going into overtime, I just kept going behind the bench saying “‘Who’s going to win this one for us? Somebody on this bench is going to win this for us,’ just trying to put that positive thought in their heads.”

The outcome of the first period could have been a lot worse than a 1-1 tie for CC after the Tigers were outshot 12-7, allowed a shorthanded goal and did not put a shot on net until the 10-minute mark. Further, the Huskies hit the post three times before the initial 20 minutes were out.

“[The game] was tough because all facets of our game were so bad,” said CC coach Scott Owens. “We didn’t have legs early and we weren’t thinking the game well, and it was just a bad night. We actually got a little momentum going in the second, but then the goal in the last :35 took the wind out of our sails. We didn’t deserve to win that game tonight.”

SCSU grabbed the early lead while down a man at 4:22 of the game when captain Dave Iannazzo carried the puck down the left side and sent a pass in front of the CC net. A deflection off the foot of a Tiger defender sent the puck to Chris Anderson, who tipped it up past CC netminder Curtis McElhinney for his first goal of his career.

Following a lethargic start, the Tigers picked it up toward the end of the opening period and converted on the power play to even the score at one goal apiece. On his 12th power-play goal of the season, reigning WCHA player of the week Brett Sterling received a backhanded pass from Joey Crabb and put a one-timer past Husky goaltender Tim Boron from the slot at 14:27.

Looking more like the No. 2 team in the nation in the second period, CC scored its second power-play goal of the game, and 14th in the last seven games. The nation’s leader in points, Marty Sertich, fed the puck to linemate Sterling, who was positioned even with the SCSU net on the right side. Sterling put it high behind Boron for his second goal of the game and the 2-1 CC lead at 3:11.

Despite being outshot 15-5 in the second period, the Huskies evened the score back up with just three seconds left on a Billy Hengen goal, giving SCSU momentum heading into the final session.

Jimmy Kilpatrick scored the go-ahead goal at 2:53 of the third period for the Tigers, but SCSU continued to fight and once again evened the score at 11:48 when Mike Doyle’s shot got a lucky bounce to beat McElhinney for the 3-3 score.

Not able to get any shots on goal in the extra period, CC was outplayed by the Huskies, who were rewarded with the win at 4:47 on Jensen’s goal for SCSU’s first overtime win since Oct. 31, 2003.

“I thought [Hengen and Brock Hooton] did a great job of keeping the puck in the zone and just kept battling right to the buzzer,” said Dahl. “You could see that there was a will to win. They just didn’t want to end up with a tie and were going to try everything they could to win the game. Luckily the puck bounced to Jensen and he put it upstairs while McElhinney was down.”

McElhinney made 28 saves in his first loss in nine games, while Boron stopped 31 shots for a 4-1-0 record in his last five.

The two teams will face off again Saturday night at the World Arena as CC hopes to salvage a split in its home series.

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