Patience paid off for the Detroit Lakes Lakers when they rallied from a 3-0 deficit to skate away with a 3-3 tie in the Fergus Falls Holiday Tournament finale at the Fergus Falls Community Center on Dec. 30. The Lakers won the shootout, earning a 4-3 win for tournament purposes, but the game is recorded as a tie.
Jace Kovash patiently controlled the puck along the sideboards, waiting for Collin Ginnaty to break towards the net as he drew the attention of the Otters. Kovash sent a perfect feed to Ginnaty, who buried it into a yawning net before Fergus Falls’ Drew Luhning could slide over and stop the puck.
It gave the Lakers a tie after being dominated by the Otters for a period and a half. However, the Lakers turned the switch and wore down the Otters, while turning the momentum in their favor.
Blake Itzen stemmed the Otter tide for the most part. He stopped 16 of 17 shots in the first period, only getting beat on a goal by Nathan Zeirden off a faceoff 24 seconds in the first period. He was beat twice by Nate Longtin in the second period, the second goal came on a great feed from Zeirden, who sent Longtin in all alone on Itzen.
Itzen’s efforts kept the Lakers within reach of the Otters, allowing them to start their comeback in the second period. Fields gained control of the puck just inside the blueline, firing it through traffic, past Luhning for the Lakers first goal. Ginnaty and Brady Morris assisted on the goal.
The Lakers put the pressure on the Otters in the third period, breaking through with a goal by Ryan Paskey. Trey Seebold had the assist on the goal, cutting it to one.
The Lakers continued to pressure Luhning and the Otters in the late stages of the third period. It appeared that Luhning was going to be able to preserve the lead, making several key saves in the closing minutes. However, it was one of the final 16 shots on goal in the third that tied the game at three.
With the extra attacker, Kovash’s patience, allowing the play to set up, helped even the game at three with 27.7 seconds left on the clock. The Lakers pushed for the game-winning goal but had to settle for the regulation tie.
Instead of overtime, the tournament holds a five-on-five shootout. Fields was the fourth shooter for the Lakers and he was the only one to solve Luhning during the shootout. Itzen stopped all five Otter shooters, preserving the shootout win for tournament purposes. The Otters were credited with the tournament win, based on the point system of the event.
The Lakers move to 4-6-1 overall with a pair of pivotal Section 8A contests on the horizon. The Lakers welcome Warroad and Crookston to the Kent Freeman Arena on Friday, Jan. 5 and Saturday, Jan. 6.
FF 1 2 0--3
DL 0 1 2--3
FF-Nathan Zeirden, ES, (Logan Wentworth)
FF-Nate Longtin, ES, (Chase Jensen, Wentworth)
FF-Longtin, ES, (Zeirden)
DL-Jackson Fields, ES, (Collin Ginnaty, Brady Morris)
DL-Ryan Paskey, ES, (Trey Seebold)
DL-Ginnaty, ES, (Jace Kovash, Fields)