Yellowjackets on wrong end of OT thriller
St. Olaf 6, Yellowjackets 5
What began as a dream scenario for the University of Wisconsin-Superior concluded in nightmarish fashion at Wessman Arena on Friday (Nov. 4) night as the Yellowjackets let a pair of two-goal leads slip away, dropping their home opener 6-5 in overtime against St. Olaf College.
The Yellowjackets surrendered the winning goal just 1:42 into the overtime period after junior Ryan Hill (Hermantown, Minn.) was whistled for a holding penalty. Dylan Porter won the faceoff for St. Olaf and fired a pass to Jack Nicoll who slipped the game winning goal between the legs of Ben Waalkens (Albert Lea, Minn.).
The black and yellow set the tone early on as Jeff Forsythe (Campbell River, British Columbia) picked up his first goal of the season just 39 seconds into the contest. The sophomore defender was assisted on his first marker of 2011-12 from Kyle Leahy (Fort St. John, Alberta) and Pat Dalbec (Superior, Wis.).
Minutes later, Bobby Roseland (Sartell, Minn.) fired in an unassisted goal to push the UW-Superior edge to 2-0. Midway through the first period, the Oles got on the board after Leahy was hit with a cross-checking citation by the referee. Derek Grogan cut the Yellowjacket lead in half, scoring his first goal of the season off of assists from Charlie Raskob and former Michigan Tech skater Peter Rohn.
Coming out of the locker room with renewed fervor to begin the second frame, the Yellowjackets needed only 3:08 to retake a two goal lead. Tom Budziakowski (Toronto, Ontario) hammered home his first score of the season off of assists from Josh Kesler (Naperville, Ill.) and Forsythe.
The Yellowjackets were not without their chances to put the game out of reach for good in the second period. Flying down the ice with a defender hot on his heels, Dalbec was upended by the trailing St. Olaf defender, drawing a penalty shot. With the UW-Superior faithful in a riotous frenzy, Dalbec skated in on Leis and fired a shot but it bounced harmlessly off the leg pads of Leis.
UW-Superior also had a goal waved off in the contest after it was concluded a Yellowjacket defender was in the crease as the puck passed over the line.
The evening took a lugubrious turn when the Oles managed to tie the contest with a pair of goals in a short three-and-a-half minute span. Rohn found the back of the net before Geoff Gieni's marker tied matters at three all.
With less than five minutes to go in the period, it was Roseland who lit the lamp for the second time to wrestle control of the game back to UW-Superior. His third goal of the season came at the 15:23 mark of the period.
The Yellowjackets suffered a seemingly disastrous blow just 17 seconds into the third when Forsythe was whistled for a five minute major for checking from behind. The penalty also warranted an ejection from the game, leaving the sophomore seething as he stormed back to the locker room.
The Yellowjackets played inspired defense, killing off the major penalty before the Oles proved they didn't necessarily need their special teams in order to be successful. Raskob knotted things at four with an ever-strength goal one minute after the 'Jackets defense had stymied the plans for a power play goal from St. Olaf.
St. Olaf took a 5-4 lead with five minutes remaining in regulation when Nicoll found the back of the net off of a rebound opportunity.
With things looking grim for the Yellowjackets, Andy Singerhouse (Hudson, Wis.) fired a wicked wrist shot through the padding of Ben Leis at the 16:53 mark for the final goal of regulation.
The Yellowjackets finished the night 0-3 on the power play while the Oles were 2-6 on the man advantage. Waalkens stopped 14 of 20 shots for the 'Jackets while his counterpart Leis turned away 20 of 25.
UW-Superior stays home for a tilt against St. Mary's University on Saturday (Nov. 5). The puck drop at Wessman Arena is scheduled to occur at 7:05 p.m.