Cobber forward Kayla Hendrickson watches the game-tying goal sail over the St. Kate's goalie's shoulder with only :30 remaining.
Courtesy of GoCobbers.com, Release: February 12, 2010
Opponent's Website: St. Kate's Women's Hockey
MIAC Website: MIAC Women's Hockey
MOORHEAD, Minn. (2/12/10)-- The 21st Winter Olympic Games started in Vancouver on Friday but it was Concordia and St. Kate's that skated through 65 minutes of Olympic-style drama in Moorhead.
After falling behind 5-1 in the second period, the Cobbers came roaring back to score four straight goals and five of the last six as the teams skated to a 6-6 overtime tie. The game was sent into Olympic-excitement proportions when the Cobbers put up a final-minute frenzy and then tied the game with just :30 seconds to go in the third period.
Kayla Hendrickson scored the first goal and the game-tying goal for the Cobbers as Concordia managed to scratch out a much needed point in conference play. CC is now 10-8-2 overall and 5-6-2 in the MIAC and tied for sixth place, three points behind the fifth - and final - playoff spot.
St. Kate's (13-4-1/9-3-1), who entered the game in second place in the conference standings, looked as if they would blow the Cobbers out of the building in the first period. The Wildcats scored less than three minutes into game on an even-strength goal by Jess Kniefel at 2:47. Although the Cobbers would tie the game at 5:22 when Hendrickson connected on the first of her two scores, CSC would pull away in the final six minutes of the first and first minute of the second. That's when St. Kate's scored three straight goals to take a 4-1 lead. The Wildcats got the go-ahead goal at 14:14 on the first of two Kelsey Abrahamson scores. Meghan Lange then made the score 3-1 at 19:14 and Cassie Rooney added the fourth CSC goal at the :50 second mark of the second period to make the game 4-1.
At that point no one in the crowd would have been able to guess the outcome of the game. It was made even more obvious that the Wildcats would skate to an easy win when Abrahamson scored her second of the game at the 7:05 mark to push the lead to 5-1.
Concordia started their comeback trail midway through the second period when Emily Sell notched her team-leading 12th goal of the year. Kaylee Black then gave the Cobbers a fighting chance in the third period when she scored at 15:03 to get CC to within 5-3. CC almost got to within one in the final seconds of the second period but a huge pad save by CSC goalie Mel Gerten kept the margin at 5-3.
The game really picked up the intensity in the first minute of the third period. Katelyn Dold scored just :31 seconds into the frame on the power play and suddenly the Cobbers were within one at 5-4.
From that point forward the game would turn into an up-and-down the ice wide open skating affair with each team getting odd-man rushes and plenty of quality scoring chances.
St. Kate's appeared to finally put the game away when Michaela Michaelson picked up the puck at center ice, turned on breakaway speed, skated past three Cobber defenders and slid the puck underneath CC goalie Tracy Skluzacek.
Down by two at 6-4 and only 7:29 to play, it looked as if Concordia's valiant comeback try was going to come up short. The Cobbers then turned up the offensive pressure and started their best attacking sequence of the season. CC freshman defenseman Ali Nelson brought Concordia to within one when she scored from the point on the power play at 14:49.
The Cobbers then through everything into attack in the final five minutes and almost had several goals but Gerten made several keys saves down the stretch. Skluzacek was equally brilliant as she stoned two breakaways that would have put the game out of reach. Concordia was finally able to pull their goalie in the final minute of play and continued to apply pressure on the Wildcat goal.
CC caught the break of the game in the final :45 seconds when a St. Kate's defender had control of the puck and was going to shoot it out of the zone but her clearing attempt hit the referee and caromed right to a Cobber player. The puck was then sent to the right point where Sell sent the puck towards the net where Hendrickson was camped right in front of the goal. The puck hit the right post and then bounced into the left side of the net to tie the game at 6-6 at the 19:30 mark. Hendrickson was credited with her sixth goal of the year on the play.
Both teams had chances to score in the extra period but it was only fitting that both goalies kept the puck out of the net and the game tied at 6-6.
In the end Concordia outshot St. Kate's 41-34, including 15-9 in the wild third period. Skluzacek stopped 28 shots while Gerten made 35 saves for the Wildcats.
The two teams will try and duplicate their thrilling game on Saturday at 2 p.m. when they finish off their two-game series at the Moorhead Youth Rink.