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BREAKING SPORTS: Owatonna hockey sneaks past Northfield in OT thriller

BREAKING SPORTS: Owatonna hockey sneaks past Northfield in OT thriller
Owatonna’s Owen Beyer celebrates with his line after scoring the go-ahead goal in the second period. Beyer went on to score that game-winner in overtime with just five seconds remaining. Staff photo by Johnnie Phillips
Johnnie Phillips, Sports Editor

A heavyweight matchup between Big Nine Conference top team Northfield and second-place Owatonna ended in a 3-2 overtime thriller tonight when senior forward Owen Beyer tucked the game-winning goal with just five minutes remaining in overtime.

Beyer’s goal came down to a mixture of unreal effort and lightning fast skating as he beat both a Northfield defender and the Raiders’ goaltender to a loose puck near the front of the net, poking it home for the buzzer-beater goal.

“It’s huge for our team. The boys were talking about it, it’s been a while since we beat Northfield,” said Will. “They’re rated No. 5 or 6 in the state for Class A so it’s a huge win for us.” Owatonna and Northfield dueled hard in the first period, but the scoring would wait until the second.

Northfield struck first 3:23 into the period on a deflection that beat goaltender Brennan Sletten, but the Huskies responded well.

Owatonna’s equalizer came with 4:28 remaining in the period and was aided by a fortunate bounce. A shot by Andrew Mitchell found the back of the net after careening off the Northfield goalie to tie the game at 1-1.

Just 59 seconds later, Owatonna took the lead after Beyer took a breakaway down the ice and found twine.

The Huskies took their 2-1 lead into the third and looked primed for a regulation win until the Raiders scored a sharp glove-side goal from the left wing with 5:24 remaining in the game. Overtime was a war of attrition with neither side giving an inch, but ultimately it was a loose puck that would decide the game.

As the final seconds waned down, Beyer skated nearly 200 feet to a loose puck, slashing it into the net past the Raiders’ lunging goalie. Pandemonium ensued at the Four Seasons Centre.

“Coach Will made a great call to leave me out there in the last five seconds, and I mean, you never know what’s going to happen… Just a weird, awkward 50/50 puck where the goalie could have got it or not, and I just backhanded it in. Really lucky, but you know, someone was upstairs watching,” said Beyer on the game-winner.

Owatonna’s win improved the Huskies to 15-5-2 overall and 8-2-2 in conference play. Up next for the Huskies is a home game against Tartan on Saturday, Feb. 10 at 1 p.m.

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