It’s been about a month since the Woodbury boys’ hockey team hosted a hockey game. The Royals have been on the road for the last six games with their last home game on Dec. 12.
On Thursday night, the fans were excited to see Woodbury back at home as the student section was packed. The other student section was crowded too as Park came to HealthEast Sports Center for a crosstown rivalry game.
“These games between Woodbury and Park are fun to be a part of because both schools have a strong tradition with boys’ hockey,” said Woodbury head coach Wes Bolin. “You know it’s going to be a fight when these two get on the ice and it was tonight.”
It was a battle of momentum for Woodbury and Park as the two teams kept going back-and-forth on gaining that advantage. In the beginning, the Wolfpack had the confidence and it led to an early lead. Then, the Royals came out firing at the end of the game and it eventually helped Woodbury win 3-2 in an overtime thriller.
In the first period and a half, the Royals didn’t play much with five players as they faced many penalties. Woodbury had eight minutes of penalties in the first period and it allowed Park to score a couple of goals.
Samuel Janski and Matthew Thompson each scored power play goals for the Wolfpack to take an early 2-0 lead. It seemed like that pattern was going to continue as Ben Tschida went to the box for five minutes due to head contact.
Even if Park scored in that time, Tschida had to stay in the penalty box for all five minutes. This was an opportunity for Park to seal the victory, but the Royals had other ideas.
Woodbury kept the puck out of the offensive zone and kept rotating players in and out perfectly to kill the penalty and not allow another score.
“That was the momentum shift for us,” said Quinn Krueger. “We knew we were only down by a couple goals and this was our chance to cut that lead and tie it.”
With about 55 seconds left in the second period, Luke Danielson scored a goal for Woodbury to make it a 2-1 game.
The Royals kept that momentum going in the third period as Park’s Brett Hill was put in the penalty box for five minutes due to boarding. About 13 seconds into that penalty, Andrew Zimmerman found the back of the net to tie the game up at 2-2 and force an overtime period.
The overtime period was controlled by Woodbury from the first face off. The majority of the minutes were spent in the Royals’ offensive side and it allowed them to take shots at the net.
After a couple close calls, the Royals faced a power play. About 45 seconds into the power play, Ben Tarlton take a shot and connected to win the game 3-2 over the crosstown rival.
“We took advantage of the power plays and it helped us get the win tonight,” Bolin said. “I know these kids are excited to get back home and play in front of friends, family, teachers and the community, so it’s great to see them get this victory tonight.”
The Royals hope this win can feed into a winning streak for the last couple months of the season. Krueger remembers a similar run that took place last season and it helped them gain some confidence heading into the section tournament.
Woodbury defeated some top conference opponents and then won against East Ridge and that sparked a winning streak to give the Royals a higher seed in the section tournament.
“When we beat East Ridge last year, I remember having chills after the game,” Krueger said. “After this win, I’m getting those same chills so hopefully that means there’s more to come these next couple months. It’ll be nice to have more home games this second half of the season because we always have a good time on the ice at home.”