Series Recap: Tahoe Icemen vs Idaho Icecats at Tahoe
This series started the same way, but instead of a momentum killer, Thursday night’s loss was followed by the first ever victory by the Icemen against the Icecats. Goaltender Maximilian Haselbacher (30) was the hero of the game, stopping a phenomenal 73 shots by a frustrated Icecats team.
Forward Paul Frys (14) extended his scoring streak to nine games, adding five points (1 goal, 4 assists) during the three-game series.
Thursday 12/14/17 3 – 2 Icecats
The first period of Thursday night’s match-up kept things even between the two teams. The game went to the intermission scoreless with similar shots on goal by both teams. The Icecats came out in the second and outshot the Icemen 2-1, putting two in the back of the net. The third saw a determined Icemen team come back with two goals, but they couldn’t hold off Icecats’ Russel Harren (27), who scored the tie-breaking game winner at 3:54 in the third. The Icecats led in penalty minutes with 18 in minors to the Icemen’s 10 minutes in minors. Icecats’ goaltender Tyler Matthews (33), allowed 2 goals on 32 shots. Icemen goalie Wade Conlan (1), made 39 saves on 42 shots.
Friday 12/15/17 4 – 3 Icemen
Friday night’s game started with a moment of silence for the late Isabella Higo, beloved mother of Icemen forward Justin “JP” Poirier (13). The Icemen jerseys were adorned with patches bearing her initials, surprising JP who was, “emotional. I didn’t know they were going to do that. It really meant a lot to me.”
The Icecats offense and defense came out working double time. They had 22 shots on net in the first period to the Icemen’s 6, but the Icemen still managed to make it on the board twice. The first goal by Tahoe was disallowed due to a dislodged net, but under a minute later Tanner Turcotte (15) scored one that counted. Tahoe’s shot accuracy is always an issue for opponents. Icecats goaltender Jacob Hough (30), allowed two goals in the first on only eight shots. Icemen goalie Maximillian Haselbacher (30) made 22 saves on 23 shots to keep the score 2 – 1 in favor of the Icemen at the first intermission.
Haselbacher made multiple acrobatic saves in the second against a 27-shot onslaught, refusing to allow a single goal. Tahoe added another to the scoreboard, bringing the score to 3-1 Icemen at the end of the second. The Icecats’ annoyance with the score was obvious, and there were multiple attempts to draw Tahoe into penalties, the most blatant resulted in Matthew Kindred (16) being ejected from the game.
The third period saw the Icecats bring it back with two goals, tying the game 3-3. The inhalation by the Tahoe crowd was audible as the Icecats put another one in the back of the net. With only :12 seconds left it looked like the Icecats had done it again, until Referee Murphy ruled no goal on a crease violation by the Icecats. Tahoe was still in it. The buzzer sounded and it looked like the Icemen had made it through regulation with the Icecats, a victory in itself. An irritated Icecats head coach got one second back on the clock, and the game was back in regulation. It wouldn’t be enough time for the Icecats to get anything going.
First overtime period didn’t yield much, and a ringer off the post for the Icemen was only fuel for the fire. Haselbacher stayed true to his game and turned away all four shots he faced.
Double overtime saw two shots from the Icecats, but Tahoe would only need one. Ilja Cetvertak (97) scored the game winner with just :33 seconds left. Icecats goalie Jacob Hough (30) allowed four goals on 32 shots. Icemen goaltender Maximillian Haselbacher (30), in the best game he’s ever played for the Icemen, had an unheard of 73 saves on 76 shots though 69 minutes of play. The Icemen played a clean game, only pulling 8 minutes in minor penalties. The Icecats with 24 minutes in penalties.
Saturday 12/16/17 9 – 4 Icecats
The Icecats didn’t allow the defeat from the night before to slow them down. Idaho scored two goals before Tahoe got on the board. The game went to first intermission with a score of 3-1 for Idaho. Goaltender Lanny Blitt (29) was pulled in favor of Wade Conlan (1). The second period saw two goals from Tahoe to tie the game, one from Justin Poirier (13) in his first game back from a shoulder injury. Conlan (1) kept the Icecats out until a city-wide power outage put a halt to play at 4:43. The lights were out for almost twenty minutes, during which time the Icecats’ head coach must have had something incredible to say. When the lights came on the Icecats put three into the back of the net before the end of the period. Third period saw one from the Icemen and three more from the Icecats. Newest Icemen goalie Lanny Blitt (29) had 17 saves on 20 shots in his first showing for the Icemen. Goalie Wade Conlan (1) made 35 saves on 41 shots. Icecats goaltender Shawn Brown (35) was pulled in favor of Tyler Matthews (33) after allowing 3 goals on 13 shots. Matthews only allowed a single goal on 14 more shots from the Icemen in the third. The game winner went to Terry Ryder (19) at 2:26 in the second period. The Icecats pulled 20 minutes in minor penalties. The Icemen had 32 minutes, including a 10-minute major for unsportsman-like conduct.
Icecats took home five points overall, and Tahoe kept two of the hardest won points in Icemen history.
The Icemen are participating in the Western States Shootout this week in Las Vegas, Nevada. They’ll face the Superior RoughRiders in Game 1, the CPJHL Select Team in Game 2 and the Fresno Monsters in Game 3. These games will count towards the season standings and are an opportunity for the players to be seen by college coaches from all over the country.
The Icecats will be back in Tahoe February 1, 2, 3, 2018 to face-off against the Icemen again.
By Harper Dial
Photos by Merick Rickman