Owatonna Boys Hockey Season Ends in Section Semifinal
The Owatonna Huskies saw their season come to an end Saturday when the #2 seed Lakeville North Panthers skated to a 4-1 win at the Rochester Rec Center. It was a Section 1 Class AA Semifinal contest. The #6 seed Huskies tied the game early in the second period but could not score with a two man advantage in the third.
Owatonna junior goalie Zach Wiese made some incredible stops with 41 saves in the game. The Panthers outshot the Huskies 45-23. Lakeville North took the lead 12:45 of the first period when junior Keaton Kranz scored his 6th goal of the season. Assists went to seniors Josh Lee (5) and Johnny Dupont (2).
The Panthers outshot the Huskies in the period 16-4. Owatonna had three penalties in the period and killed all of them effectively including a two man advantage for Lakeville North.
Owatonna tied the game 3:32 into the second period when senior Jacob Stoykovich buried the puck off a rebound to score his 7th goal of the season, assisted by sophomore Dominic Valento (20).
Approximately 5 minutes later Lakeville North would take the lead when Josh Lee scored his 3rd goal of the season from high in the slot. Assists went to junior Cole Pearson (15) and Ben Monson (13).
The Panthers scored a short handed goal at 13:46 on a beautiful play. Monson got the puck out of the Panthers zone to classmate Spencer Schneider near the board at the red circle to the right of Wiese. Schneider waited and put the puck on the stick of senior Shane Griffin flying down the slot toward the net until just before he reached the crease to give Lakeville North a two goal lead.
The Panthers outshot the Huskies 18-7 in the second period. Each team had a penalty in the period but there were no power play goals.
In the final period Owatonna stayed out of the penalty box and outshot Lakeville North 12-11. A boarding call on the Panthers gave Owatonna a two man advantage for over three minutes and a power play for the final 4:27 of the game and they couldn't score. The only goal came at 15:48 when Lee connected on a shorthanded goal, his second of the game and 4th of the season. Assists to Pearson (16) and Dupont (3).
#4 seed Lakeville South cruised to a win over top seed Hastings in the earlier game 8-1 with running time in the third period. The Cougars scored on three of their first six shots in the game.
For the third consecutive year it will be an all Lakeville final in Rochester Thursday night at 7:00 p.m. at the Rochester Rec Center. In the past decade North and South have faced each other 8 times and the other two years Lakeville North defeated Farmington in the finals.
The Big 9 will have to wait another year to get a Class AA team to the state tournament.