By Joel Badzinski | LaCrosse Tribune | Saturday, March 19, 2011
ONALASKA – Coulee Region Chill goaltender Aaron Davis skated to his bench for a few last-second tips from coach Garrett Strot before Friday's overtime shootout.
The reminders were all technical, except for Strot's final words of wisdom: "Above all, stop the puck."
Davis stopped four of five Janesville shooters, including the leadoff attempt by Onalaska native Jordan Tredinnick, while David Ripple and Zac Frischmon scored for the Chill to ice a 3-2 victory in front of 861 at the OmniCenter.
The Chill's win moved them into a first-place tie with Owatonna in the NAHL Central Division. Coulee Region has qualified for the playoffs but is still playing for home-ice advantage.
Davis, a Mound, Minn., native in his rookie year with the Chill, earned his first shootout win. He kept the puck that clinched it, a glove save on Ross Mauermann.
"All my games seem to be nail-biters," said Davis, who made 28 saves. "This was my first start against Janesville, and I'd noticed some things during the game. Before the shootout, coach called me over and went over a few things."
The Jets entered the game having allowed a league-low 109 goals in 53 games. So when they took a 2-0 lead in the second period, the Chill faced a big challenge.
Janesville's first goal came on a power-play tip by Trevor Landowski on a shot from the point by Tredinnick. The second goal dropped in when a puck bounced high in the air after hitting a body and fell into the net behind Davis, who never saw it.
"What can you do? It was a fluke bounce," Davis said. "You can't let those goals get you down. After that, I was frustrated. I knew I had to keep the puck out of the net after that to give us a chance."
While Janesville got its lucky bounce, the Chill were getting none. Lucas Dillon zipped a shot past David Jacobson midway through the second period, but the puck hit the right post and caromed out off the crossbar.
"We've been there before," forward Micky Knox said. "We've got great veteran leadership, good rookies, and we know that it's crunch time if we're going to win our division. We had to bear down."
Coulee Region broke the spell on the power play later in the second, as Knox, falling to his knees, brought in a pass from Frischmon and flipped it past Jacobson.
"It's a good goal to get it started," Knox said. "It was a great pass by Zac."
Jacobson made the save of the night eight minutes into the third, robbing Tommy Miller by laying out to stop a backhand inches from the goal line.
But a minute later, Jacobson made the worst mistake of the night when he left his net to play a puck, and Berkley Scott got to it and fired into an open net to tie it 2-2 at 13:02.
"I'm sure (Jacobson) doesn't do that very often," Strot said. "It was a good job by Berkley to put it into the net."
Coulee Region put heavy pressure on Jacobson for the final 30 seconds of the third period, and he stopped a point-blank shot by Gaarder with 50 seconds left in overtime.
Janesville's Connor McBride fooled Davis with a deke to give the Jets a 1-0 shootout lead, but Ripple and Frischmon beat Jacobson (26 saves) cleanly on back-to-back tries.
Coulee Region improved to 2-3 in shootouts; both wins have come against Janesville.
"Now we're tied for first, so this was a huge two points," Strot said.
CLOSE CALLS: Strot wasn't upset about two dangerous penalties by Janesville.
Lawrence Childs drove defenseman David Mylrea into the boards from behind in the second period, and Mylrea crumpled to the ice for about 30 seconds. Childs received a minor plus 10-minute misconduct for checking from behind.
In the third period, Chris Cattivera went knee-to-knee on Knox as the two crossed in the neutral zone. Cattivera was called for kneeing.
Neither Mylrea nor Knox were seriously hurt.
"I don't think it was intentional," Strot said. "They're a team that plays hard."