By Joel Badzinski | LaCrosse Tribune | Saturday, April 2, 2011
ONALASKA – Zac Frischmon knew it was a luxury to have so much time and open ice.
The Coulee Region Chill forward made sure he didn't waste it.
Frischmon scored on a rush in overtime and gave the Chill a 4-3 win Saturday over the Owatonna Express in Game 2 of the NAHL Central Division playoffs in front of 804 people at the OmniCenter.
Now, the best-of-five series is tied 1-1. Games 3 and 4 are next Friday and Saturday at Kasson, Minn.
Frischmon, who earlier in
the week committed to NCAA Division I Mercyhurst (Pa.), got the puck near mid-ice on a pass from Ben Gislason, looked up and saw a wide lane into the Express zone. Inside the blue line, he cut toward his defender, using him as a screen, and beat Charles Williams to end the game.
"Probably my favorite play is when you can get going full speed like that with the puck," Frisch-mon said. "It doesn't happen very often in this league, you usually just get a second or so. I saw all that ice in front of me, and when (the defenseman) backed in I cut and shot it between his legs."
Owatonna took all the momentum into overtime. The Express trailed 3-2 late in the third, pulled Williams for an extra skater and tied it when Andy Singerhouse snuck a shot past Aaron Davis
(30 saves) with 22 seconds left.
"OK, you're disappointed, now get over that because it's overtime and it's all new," Chill coach Garrett Strot said.
Coulee Region lost 2-1 on Friday in Game 1. They put 43 shots on Williams but came away frustrated time and time again.
Chill defenseman Eric Drapluk broke the ice with a goal at 10:04 of the first period Saturday, converting an Owatonna turnover in its own zone into a 1-0 lead.
"Coming back from the loss, you just have to have a short memory," Drapluk said. "We played great (Friday) night and today we buried our chances. I think losing that game also gave us an extra grudge."
The teams traded goals after that.
The Chill took a 2-1 lead when David Ripple tipped in Drapluk's shot from the blue line. It was an example of Coulee Region's plan for the series: to get bodies in front of Williams and try for tips and rebounds.
Schyler Adams tied it for Owatonna later in the second. Matt Blomquist gave the Chill a 3-2 lead 3½ minutes later on the power play, the only special teams goal of the series so far.
Coulee Region clung to its lead through the third period. When Owatonna pulled Williams (28 saves) with 1:46 left, the Chill had two looks at the open net but couldn't score.
Singerhouse made them pay when his shot from the side of the net got through Davis, giving Owatonna a chance to take a 2-0 series lead.
Instead, Frischmon gave the Chill their first playoff win.
Strot liked Frischmon's chances on the final play, but against Williams, who went 6-1-1 against Coulee Region during the regular season, nothing was guaranteed.
"I was just hoping he wouldn't make another move and that he'd just shoot the puck," Strot said. "And he did."