FAIRBANKS-Tuesday night was Lathrop's senior night and it was a game they wouldn't forget but they ended up on the wrong side of the scoreboard in a 3-2 overtime loss to North Pole. It's the first time the Patriots beat North Pole on the ice in at least four seasons.
The Lathrop Malemutes came out on fire and were the aggressors early on the first period. They put 25 shots on goal. North Pole senior goal Allan Heineken made 23 saves in the period. But Lathrop got their success in special situations. The seniors Chad Horn and Cole Stephens linked for the first goal of the game. Stephens and Horn tore through the Patriots blue line and finished off the rush with a short handed Stephens goal four minutes into the game.
With 3:53 left in the opening period Cameron Walker taps one in off a rebound from a from senior Nick Jensen's missed shot on the power play. Lathrop leads 2-0 after one.
Ryan Ebenal was in net for Lathrop and he matched Heineken's play throughout the game making timely saves. It look Ebenal was on pace for a possible shutout but with about two minutes left in the second the Patriots threw that idea out of the rink.
Lathrop turned the puck over in their own zone as Carmon Teel took the puck for North Pole and put a shot on net from the slot. It bounced off Ebenal's right pad but Daniel Volsky was there for the rebound goal to make a 2-1 game at the 2:22 mark.
North Pole used a short handed play of their own. Lathrop was looking close out the second period with a score until North Pole's Jason Donald made a play on the puck as the Malemutes were cycling at the blue line. Donald corralled the puck and managed to put it ahead of the Malemutes and beat them to it. Donald came down the left circle area and went with far side top shelf on Ebenal with a wrister to tie the game 2-2. Donald's goal occurred with just 11 seconds left in the period.
The third period would go scoreless. Heineken shutout the Malemutes with 11 saves. Ebenal responded with five saves of his own including one at the buzzer to send the game into overtime.
The Patriots found themselves on power play with about five minutes left in overtime. Lathrop was looking for a another short handed goal and went into North Pole's zone after clearing the puck from their own zone. Heineken made a pass along the boards to Teel and Teel sent the puck Wyatt Conrow. After a deflection the puck landed in the neutral zone and by Donald's stick as he was moving with momentum. Donald started down the slot then broke to the left circle, leaned and shot on the far side of Ebenal again and it went in.
Donald's second goal of the game was overtime game winner at the 5:32 mark of overtime.
Heineken made 45 saves for North Pole in the victory. Ebenal finished with 15 for the Mutes.