by Samantha Lefebvre
Andover (115-5-1) settled for a 2-2 tie against Northwest Suburban Conference leader and No. 3 ranked Maple Grove (15-1-1) in Andover Jan. 21.
The Huskies dropped a 5-4 decision during the first meeting of the season in December.
Saturday night’s game was a much different affair.
Two heavily defensive and scoreless periods went by before Andover junior Brady Barthold, scored the first goal of the game within the first two minutes of the third period. Junior Christian Mohs was there with the assist.
Seven minutes later Mohs brought Andover’s lead to 2-0 with a goal of his own with less than eight minutes left on the clock.
The two-point deficit lit a fire under Maple Grove. With less than two minutes left in the game the Crimson scored their first goal. Senior forward Tony Paulson slid the puck past Huskies sophomore goalie Chase Perry. Now only up by one point, the Huskies felt the pressure to maintain their strong defense against the Crimson.
Maple Grove pressed Andover hard in the last minute of playing time, but the Huskies were able to keep skating with them. In the end the Crimson’s offensive efforts payed off with a goal by senior Alex Mason to tie up the game 2-2 in the last thirty seconds.
The Huskies tried for one more goal but came up empty handed and the game when into overtime.
“We are a fairly young team with only three seniors so we are still making mistakes that young teams make,” Andover coach Mark Manney said. “We are young and we are inexperienced and we got caught running around. We maybe just got a little bit too eager to win the game and had a few mental lapses, which I guess with a team this good those end up in your net.”
A few close shots and a handful of crucial saves made up the duration of the extra minutes. Neither team was able to close it out.
“Tonight we played a team that is one of the top three in the state,” Manney said. “Our kids took this as a challenge because these are the kinds of teams they are going to have to beat if they want to go deep in the post season. So we gave it everything we had.”
The Crimson out shot the young Huskies team overall and in every period, 19-7 after the first period, 17-6 after the second period and 20-11 after the third period. In overtime the Crimson outshot the Huskies 6-3 making the total shots on goal 62-27.
Perry was busy all night as his 60 saves show while Maple Grove senior Kyle Koop who stopped 25-of-27 shots.
“I think you look at this game and we might have played our best game of the year,” Maple Grove coach Gary Stefano said. “If you’re going to tell me that we would come to this place and take 60 shots and get two goals, I would have said you were nuts. But we knew we were facing a good goalie and that is what goaltending does.”
The Huskies will take on Osseo at home on Jan. 28. [smooth=id:492]