Somerset hockey takes Chippewa Falls to overtime
The Somerset boys hockey team reminded everyone that the Spartans are still a dangerous team when they took Chippewa Falls to overtime last Tuesday.
Chippewa Falls scored a power play goal in overtime to escape the penalty-packed game with a 4-3 win over the Spartans.
The Spartans faced an even tougher test when they played at Holy Angels in Richfield last Thursday. Somerset coach Dan Gilkerson said he thought the Spartans played capably, but they were still defeated by Holy Angels, 7-1.
The schedule doesn't get much easier for the Spartans. They will play at home this Thursday against Baldwin-Woodville. The schedule is running down for the Spartans. They have games in early February against Amery, Northland Pines and La Crosse Aquinas to end the regular season.
The game at Chippewa Falls featured plenty of special teams action. There were 21 penalties called in the game, 19 of them in the final two periods, with several of them being offsetting penalties.
Chippewa Falls led 3-1 in the third period before the Spartans made a valiant comeback. Eli Tuttle scored 8:39 into the third period on the power play to cut Chippewa's lead to 3-2. In the final seconds of regulation, the Spartans took a faceoff in the Chippewa Falls zone. The Spartans were short-handed, but pulled goalie Francisco Gomez for an extra attacker. The Spartans won the faceoff, running a play that got the puck back to defenseman Dominic Abbott. Abbott skated to the slot and fired a shot through traffic that beat the Chippewa Falls goaltender with 12 seconds left on the clock.
That goal sent the game to overtime, but the Spartans were still short-handed. Chippewa Falls took advantage, scoring the game-winner from a scrum in front of the net, 61 seconds into the overtime.
This performance came against a quality opponent. In its previous game, Chippewa Falls had lost to undefeated Hudson, 2-0.
"We were pretty resilient. It was one of our better efforts," said Somerset coach Dan Gilkerson. "It was a good effort, coming back against a team of that caliber."
Jackson Haukom scored the Spartans' first goal, which was created on the same faceoff play that produced the game-tying goal in the final seconds of regulation.
The Spartan coaches asked the players to play physically in both games last week. They did that, but the coaches are looking for the team to play physically and still take less penalties. There were 21 penalties called in this game, 11 against Somerset. There were 15 penalties called in Thursday's game, eight against the Spartans.
Tuttle scored Somerset's only goal against Holy Angels, his third goal in the past four games. Gilkerson said Tuttle is learning to use his size to clear space in front of the opposing net to create scoring chances.
The Spartans were outshot 62-23 in the loss. Gilkerson said Gomez was "at the top of his game" in stopping 55 shots. Holy Angels plays in one of the top conferences in Minnesota. Their previous game was against Edina, one of the marquee programs in Minnesota hockey.