Power plays were the difference late in the game Saturday at Kent Freeman Arena as the St. Paul Johnson Governors stifled a five-minute major shorthanded situation and Carl Fish scored on the man advantage to give the visitors a 4-3 victory over Detroit Lakes.
Fish’s goal snapped a 3-3 tie after a brilliant goal by the Lakers’ Trey Seebold. Ryan Paskey found Seebold alone at the blue line and the Laker junior made three solid dekes with the puck and flipped a backhander past Governor’s goalie Aaron Lee at the midway point of the third period.
The Lakers began the third period with three-minutes, 24-seconds of carry-over penalty time after a slashing major sent Johnson’s AJ Austin to the sin bin for five minutes.
The DL power play struggled to set up in the zone the final 90 seconds of the period and came up empty early in the third.
Austin got the puck upon exiting the penalty box and put a tough shot from a bad angle on Laker goalie Blake Itzen, who made the save. Austin found his way back to the box quickly whistled for roughing to give the Lakers another man-up opportunity less than four minutes into the third period.
The Governors killed all five shorthanded opportunities in the game, while capitalizing on only one power play, a hooking call on Reed Benson at 9:10 of the third period. Fish scored the game-winner 10 seconds later.
DL’s best chance to tie late in the game came with three minutes left when Ben Unruh found Paskey in front of the St. Paul net but Paskey was unable to beat Lee. Brady Morris had a deflection go wide of the net in the final minute.
Austin had the lone goal of the first period at even strength with an assist to Fish. St. Paul outshot DL 7-6 in the opening frame.
Morris and Drew Schwan scored back-to-back goals in the opening five minutes of the second period to give the Lakers their only lead of the game 2-1.
Fish had the tying marker at 7:42.
Christopher Ranum scored the Governors’ third goal of the game at 6:15 of the third period leading to Seebold’s tying breakaway at 8:23, less than a minute before Fish’s game-winner.
Shots were 29-21 in favor of St. Paul Johnson. Lee stopped 18 shots to earn the victory. Itzen made 25 saves for the Lakers.
St. Paul Johnson has won the last two of three annual meetings with the Lakers.
The loss snapped a three-game winning streak for DL (3-5) heading into the Fergus Falls holiday tournament Dec. 27-29. The Lakers open with West Fargo (1-5) Wednesday, Dec. 27 at 2:30 p.m. DL faces Park Rapids (2-4) Thursday afternoon and the host Otters (3-2-2) Friday night at 7 p.m.
SP 1 1 2 - 4
DL 0 2 1 - 3
S - AJ Austin (even strength) (Carl Fish)
D - Brady Morris (even strength) (Jackson Fields, Reed Benson)
D - Drew Schwan (even strength) (Jackson Carlblom, Jace Kovash)
S - Carl Fish (even strength) (Joseph Moberg)
S - Christopher Ranum (even strength) (Alex Campbell, AJ Austin)
D - Trey Seebold (even strength) (Ryan Paskey)
S - Carl Fish (power play) (Christopher Ranum, Alex Campbell)