Caden Opheim’s breakaway goal in overtime carried the Park Rapids-Menahga-Nevis-Walker-Hackensack-Akeley boys hockey team to its first win of the season.
Opheim’s goal 3:28 into the extra session gave the Panthers a dramatic 2-1 win over Wadena-Deer Creek at the Ted O. Johnson Ice Arena on Thursday, Dec. 12. That goal enabled the Panthers to reclaim the Highway 71 Cup in this penalty-marred game between Mid-State Conference rivals.
Neither team scored during the first two periods as Park Rapids was able to skate off five penalties. W-DC had 27 shots on goal during that time while the Panthers fired 15 shots on net through the first two scoreless periods.
The Wolverines opened the scoring just 55 seconds into the third period when Aidan Allred scored off a face-off. After W-DC failed to score on two power-play opportunities, the Panthers tied the game when Josh Crandall assisted on a goal by Joey Hillukka at the 5:56 mark. Park Rapids had a power-play goal waved off with 6:26 to play as this game went into overtime. The Wolverines were whistled for three penalties while Park Rapids was called for four penalties in the third period.
Opheim broke loose and scored the game-winner as the Panthers prevailed despite being outshot 16-11 in the third period and overtime. Both teams struggled to take advantage of penalties as W-DC went 0-for-8 with a man advantage while the Panthers failed to score on six power-play chances.
Goalie Ben Strandlie made 43 saves as the Panthers improved to 1-2 in conference games. W-DC, which held a 44-28 advantage in shots, fell to 0-1-1 in Mid-State games and 1-6-1 overall.
Wadena-Deer Creek 0 0 1 0...1
Park Rapids 0 0 1 1...2
FIRST PERIOD: No scoring: Penalties: W-DC 1, Park Rapids 5.
SECOND PERIOD: No scoring. Penalties: W-DC 1, Park Rapids 0.
THIRD PERIOD: 1, W-DC, Allred, :55. 1, Park Rapids, Joey Hillukka (Crandall), 5:56. Penalties: W-DC 3, Park Rapids 4.
OVERTIME: 2, Park Rapids, Opheim, 3:28. Penalties: W-DC 1, Park Rapids 0.
GOALIE SAVES: W-DC (Dykhoff) 6-9-11--26. Park Rapids (Strandlie) 9-18-16--43.
LOW rolls to win
Lake of the Woods scored six straight goals in rolling to a 10-3 win over the Panthers in a game between Section 8A teams at the Baudette Arena on Friday, Dec. 13.
Goals by Blake Ferris and Jackson Lebrassuer in the first 5:15 of the game gave LOW a 2-0 lead before Opheim scored at the 6:43 mark to make it 2-1. Alec Nordin and Jaxson Lund assisted on that goal.
The Bears responded with the next six goals, beginning with Gunner Ferrier’s tally late in the first period. A five-goal second period pushed LOW’s lead to 8-1 as Lebrassuer completed his hat trick by scoring three times. A goal by Jack Wood and Ferris’ shorthanded goal capped off that run. Nash Mitchell’s goal with 36 seconds to play in the second period made it 8-2. Hillukka assisted on that goal.
Goals by Anson Haack and Zakai Dahl in the first 2:56 of the third period gave the Bears a 10-2 advantage. Crandall set up Josh Kuhlman at the 7:37 mark to conclude the scoring.
LOW, which went 0-for-4 on the power play, finished with a 49-33 advantage in shots to improve to 2-0 in section games and 3-3 overall.
Goalie Collin Hoyt made 39 saves, including 18 in the second period, as the Panthers fell to 0-3 in section play and 1-4 overall. Park Rapids went 0-for-3 on the power play.