Dub shines, Wencl scores game-winner in Owatonna's 2-1 win over Rochester Century
Rochester – Coming off a 9-0 win Over Winona, the Owatonna boys hockey team was carry the right amount of momentum into the Section 1-AA tournament.
There were also carrying a goaltender who allowed just one goal in 31 shots the last two games.
The Huskies needed both Thursday against Rochester Century.
Registering 19 saves on 20 shots faced, Jacob Dub shut the door on the Panthers, helping guide fifth-seeded Owatonna (15-11) to a 2-1 win at the Rochester Recreation Center.
“As long as I make that first save, I trust that my team will get the second or maybe even the third one. That’s just the biggest thing for me,” commented the Huskies goaltender. “It doesn’t matter if it’s a one-on-zero, two-on-three; whatever the rush is, just make the first save.”
Dub may have only faced four shots in the first period, but arguably made the save of the year.
As Century was able to establish a presence in the offensive zone, Panthers’ forward Ben Haas quickly fired a centering pass to Will Zmolek, who appeared to have a wide-open chance on the backside. Just as Zmolek fired the shot, Dub made a diving save, managing to get just enough of the paddle onto the puck to deflect it. Owatonna head coach Josh Storm stated that the phenomenal play from his junior goaltender triggered from that big save.
“I think that kind of put some confidence in him and when he gets confident, he’s scary good,” commented Storm.
Offensively, the Huskies were firing on all cylinders, carrying every ounce of momentum created from the senior day win over Winona with them. While the Panthers mustered just four shots on goal, Owatonna exploded for 14.
With the Huskies missing on a handful of scoring opportunities in the first period, Owatonna needed just five minutes to strike in the second. After killing a cross-checking minor, Mason Oland fired a quick pass to Cameron Trout at the point, sniping a quick wrist-shot that completely fooled Panthers’ goaltender Cole Walter.
Just minutes later, Oland registered his second assist of the game, finding Tyler Wencl in the slot who managed to just beat the glove of Walter to record the game-winning goal. Wencl continues his hot play of late, scoring his second goal in as many games. Despite only netting two goals, the Huskies dominated with 36 shots on goal, registering 13 in the two-goal second period.
“I thought we were sweet, honestly,” he chuckled. “We executed our game plan to a T. We made a few adjustments because they changed some stuff, but the compete level from our guys tonight was through the roof.”
The Panthers would add a goal midway through the second period to cut the lead to 2-1 after Dub appeared to lose the puck through a screen. After allowing the goal, he was back to his dominating play, making clutch save after clutch save.
There was a moment early in the third period that provided a bit of fireworks and potential controversy. Just 21 seconds into the period, Owatonna’s Carter Broton seemingly put the game out of reach after his shot was mishandled and slide into the net. Unfortunately, the officials waved the goal off, stating this blew the whistle for a frozen puck.
“That’s the third one this year we’ve had waved like that,” commented Storm. “With that being said though, St. Francis was the first one, kids won that game. Northfield was the second one, kids won that game. Century, third one and kids won that game. It’s a huge blow, and for our guys to respond the way they do every time, it shows their character.”
Owatonna will be back in action Saturday at 11:30 a.m. in Rochester to face top-seeded Lakeville North, who won 9-0 over Dodge Center Thursday night.