Loons spoil late Steel comeback, win in OT
By Jim Bastian
Journal Sports Writer
NEW ULM — From a high to a low in a matter of just over a minute.
The New Ulm Steel’s Nick O’Brien scored a short-handed goal with just 14 seconds left in the game to tie it at 2-all and force overtime.
But less than a minute into the extra session, Minnesota Loons’ Michael Fitzgerald lifted the puck by Steel goalie Nolan Lacosse on the power play as the Loons edged the Steel 3-2 Friday night at the New Ulm Civic Center in NA3HL game.
O’Brien and Jack Laser had goals for the Steel, with Landon Schwantes and Jackson Heim adding assists.
Lacosse stopped 25 of 28 Loons shots in the game.
“I told the team after the game that they did not quit,” Steel coach Alex North said. “They [Loons] had a power play with under a minute to go in the game and we were still able to get that [game-tying] goal to force overtime and get a point. Obviously you want 2 [points], but with how tight our division is, we will take all of the points we can get.”
The Steel and the Loons are now tied with Mason City for third place with 10 points each and are just a point behind second place Alexandria.
The Steel got on the board first in the game when Jack Laser notched his sixth goal of the season off an assist from Schwantes and Heim for a 1-0 lead at the 5:53 mark of the first period before Kemry Stitch tied the game at the 7:03 mark.
Jamison Allen’s goal at the 6:16 mark of the second period lifted the Loons to a 2-1 lead.
And the score remained that way until O’Brien tied it late.
But the Steel had their chances to do some damage.
Twice in the game, the Steel had 5-on-3 power-plays but failed to score.
The first one came in the second period when they had a two-man advantage for 46 seconds and then in the third when they failed to score on a two-man advantage for 1:46.
North said that you have to give credit to goaltender Matthew Ryynanen, who stopped 33 of 35 shots in the game.
“Their goaltender kept them in the game,” North said. “And they blocked a lot of shots. If he is not standing on his head, we are probably winning this game. We outshot them tonight (35-28), which is a step in the right direction.”
The Steel host the Loons again Saturday night at 7:10 p.m. at the New Ulm Civic Center.