For the second night in a row, they required more than sixty minutes to reach a decision but with a goal from a third year Norsemen veteran St. Cloud picked up a 3-2 overtime victory against the Anchorage Wolverines.
On Friday night in Blaine the game started out without much action in the first twenty minutes with the teams in a feeling out period with one another, despite familiarity from their Robertson Cup Semifinal matchup last season. Just thirteen shots were registered and Anchorage held the advantage 8-5 thanks largely to the only two penalties of the frame being called against St. Cloud, including over a minute of 5 on 3, but the Norsemen killed it off and the period finished scoreless.
Moments after St. Cloud seemingly had a tap in goal that was broken up by some furious backchecking the Norsemen broke onto the scoresheet when Blake Perbix raced to a loose puck below the goal line and fed it into the slot where it was deftly one-timed by Nik Hong over the outstretched glove of Anchorage goalie Ben Dardis giving St. Cloud the only goal of the period at the 11:51 mark. The Norsemen outshot the Wolverines 11-8 in the frame to even it up at 16 apiece going into the third.
St. Cloud quickly grabbed a two-goal lead when Daniels Murnieks threw a howitzer of a pass from the goal line in the right corner just outside of the crease and Jeremiah Konkel wasted no time taking a shot that arched perfectly over the outstretched glove of Dardis. The puck was just under the crossbar and just inside the post in a spot Konkel could have placed it into any better by hand. The goal came 2:51 into the period but the lead would last less than a minute when Norsemen goalie Tomas Bolo came off his line to play a puck and his clearing attempt was partially blocked by defenseman Broten Sabo; the two partially collided and it left a rebound and an empty net that Anchorage’s Jackson Reineke whistled one into the yawning cage. The Wolverines drew even off a backhanded shot in the slot from Wilson Dahlheimer who earned his keep with some tough sledding and slaloming in tight quarters. The goal would be the final for either side just shy of the halfway mark of the period and would send the two teams into 3 on 3 overtime with Anchorage leading in the shots on goal department 29-25.
There would only be one shot on goal in overtime and all 1:29 of action in the extra frame seemed to be dictated by St. Cloud with the Norsemen controlling possession and scheme. The winning goal started out with Perbix tracking down the loose puck from a Hunter Hanson shot and skating it back to his own blue line. He then went up the left side of the ice to Duke Kiffin who waited for Perbix to skate into the zone and open himself up and on the catch and release of the wristshot Perbix roofed it in almost the exact same spot as the previous two St. Cloud goals, in the upper corner glove side of Dardis.
With that shot the Norsemen improve to .500 with a record of 1-1-1 and three points in the standings in three games. They conclude the 2022 NAHL Showcase with a date against the Wisconsin Windigo, a new organization having relocated and rebranded from the Minnesota Magicians, with the puck dropping at 3:30 pm at the Super Rink in Blaine. All games can be seen online at www.hockeytv.com.