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High School Hockey Week 13: Leo Holds Off Vipers in Shootout, Braun’s Return Proves Clutch in OT Win

What a night of hockey we had on Wednesday night. We kicked it off with what might just be the Game of the Year between the Vipers and Lions provided our first shootout of the year. Then to make it an even better night we had Homestead pushing Carroll to overtime where Dylan Braun took the game into his own hands to keep Carroll unbeaten in his return to the ice. A week like that only fuels the excitement with the Memorial Cup Playoffs just seven days away and two sets of games on tap this week.

Weekly Recap

Leo 6, Vipers 5 SO

It really was a tale of two halves in the first game of the night. While in hockey we don’t typically talk like that it was certainly applicable to this game. The first half featured the Lions jumping out to a 4-1 lead with three straight goals after a 1-1 tie. The goals started coming early and they came often at the beginning of the game with three goals in the first five minutes alone. Dylan Davis scored first and then about 30 seconds later Darcy Koch took us back to square one. It took all of two minutes for the next goal to be scored. Aaron Amick had a near miss of his own but got back to the puck behind the goal and sent a pass in front where Weston Roth scored and put Leo back into the lead. From there the game would settle down and no more goals were scored the entirety of the first period. A power play early in the second period afforded Leo the opportunity to extend their lead and Davis did just that, scoring right off the first faceoff of the power play for his second of the game. Amick scored for Leo with 8:36 to play in the second which amounted to a 4-1 lead but that marked a turning point in the game, or at minimum the rest of the second period.

The Vipers were fully en fuego for the last five minutes of the second period as they rattled off three goals before the intermission to bring the game even. The comeback started for the Vipers with a nice chip play out of their own zone and then Michael Scully made a nice pass into open ice for Jack Backstrom who had a mini-breakaway and scored. Keaton Rice was up next, he went 1-on-1 with Hudson Roth and snapped a shot past Xander Mulholland to get the Vipers within one. Leo was able to right the ship for a few minutes but eventually, the Vipers’ pressure was too much to handle. Eventually, Weston Roth took a cross-checking penalty and the Lions used their timeout to regather themselves. Leo nearly survived the man advantage but just as the penalty was set to expire Christian Brown hammered a shot from the point that found the back of the net and tied the game up, which also brought Andrew Baumert into the crease in relief of Mulholland.

The Vipers also had a new goaltender in net when the third period rolled around as Kam Clark was in the blue paint instead of Ben Marques who made 10 saves on 14 shots, but the timing of the move was strange as he hadn’t been scored on in over eight minutes and his team had pulled the game back even. After a rough finish to the second period the Lions were much better in the third playing a much more even game but it was still the Vipers who got the go-ahead goal 7:45 into the third period. Koch made a beautiful toe drag bringing the puck into the attacking zone but Baumert poked it away. Unfortunately for him, it went straight to the dangerous stick of Jackson Bertels who buried it. Leo fought back though and Sam Schwartz tied the game while there was a delayed penalty call coming to the Vipers with 3:49 remaining in regulation. Moving into overtime the Vipers put the pressure back on but none of their five shots on goal made it past Baumert and Clark kept the Lions from scoring as well, forcing the game to a shootout. The best-of-3 shootout ended up being a battle of which goalie could make the first save. Goals weren’t difficult to come by as the first four shooters all scored. The fifth shooter was Scully and Baumert came up big with a save, giving Amick a chance to win the game if he could convert on his attempt. He did just that, slipping a quick shot under Clark for the win.

Carroll 4, Homestead 3 OT

The second game of the night didn’t provide the same excitement out of the gate but it certainly delivered later in the game. The only goal of the first period belonged to Carroll and Brody Burge. Corbin Klenke released a shot from the point and Burge got a tip on it to give Carroll a 1-0 lead they held through the end of the second period. Things really got going in the third period. Carter Gnau extended Carroll’s lead 37 seconds into the period after Davis Cline’s shot was blocked and went right to him. After that goal, Gavin Elkins was on a mission for Homestead. He looked locked in on the next shift and made his way to the front of the net and found a loose puck which he was able to get off his stick so the Chargers could knock it away. As time started falling away from the Spartans the next goal become increasingly important with each passing minute, regardless of which team was to score. It would end up being the Spartans who scored and the celebration told you all you needed to know about how much Andrew Litwinko’s game-tying goal meant to that team as they aimed to complete the trifecta of beating each team in the league, in consecutive weeks no less.

It appeared again like we were destined for extra time… until it didn’t. With just 1:45 in regulation, Burge fed a pass to Cam Drexler in the slot for a one-timer to the back of the net putting Carroll ahead. That felt like the clock striking midnight for the Spartans who despite giving it a great run would fall short but of course, that’s not the end of the story. Not to be outdone, down to 19 seconds to play with, Elkins torched a shot from the right circle off the post and in to tie the game which of course led to overtime. After being quiet for most of the game, Dylan Braun decided it was time to announce his return. The Chargers won an offensive zone faceoff but they won it too cleanly and it forced Braun, lined up as a defenseman to retreat back to the neutral zone and he took it a step further, going all the way back into his own D-zone and behind the Carroll net. From there he built a head of steam and bolted up the right side of the ice, knifing through the Homestead defense, stopping in front of the net, and making a backhand-forehand move to stuff the pack past Alex Dougherty for the game-winner which he punctuated with the classic heart-breaker celly.

Week 14 Predictions

Last Week: 2-0

This Season: 20-6

Perfect Scores: 2/26

Homestead 5, Vipers 3

This is a massive game. If the Vipers win they clinch the third seed in the playoffs and will dodge Carroll in the first round. If Homestead wins they’ll have the inside line but still will need to win on Saturday against Leo. With that on the line both teams should come out with a lot of intensity and be ready to go from the start. This should be a good one, I’m going to ride the hot hand and take the Spartans to get it done.

Carroll 5, Leo 2

Leo got a good bounce-back win last week and Carroll just squeaked past Homestead which might actually work in their favor and wake them up a bit as I’m sure it’s easy to go on cruise control for them with bigger goals in sight over the next month. Getting Braun back is obviously huge and he proved that with his game-winner last week.

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