Wojtalewicz nets game-winner in overtime against Northland Pines
By Jacob Heid
STEVENS POINT — If you like a lot of goals, physicality, and hard skating, this hockey game was for you. The Pacelli co-op hockey team hosted the Northland Pines Eagles at Ice Hawk Arena on Nov. 29 in what became a shootout. Pacelli came away with the 6-5 victory on a game-winning shot by junior Balin Wojtalewicz.
First period: Northland Pines- 1 Pacelli- 1
The two teams skated evenly for about the first seven minutes, setting the tone physically for the game. The game remained tied until Pacelli struck first. Amherst senior Mason Zielinski scored on the power play, putting Pacelli up 1-0 with his first of the year. Head coach Cory Blake expressed he liked the play along the boards and the early aggression.
“We’ve been preaching to them that they need to win board battles, we have to be way more physical in the corners, and control the outside perimeter during the entire game,” Blake said.
It didn’t take long for Northland Pines to light the lamp. Two minutes after Zielinski’s goal, the Eagles beat goaltender Carter Herheim. Both teams had even opportunities, with Pacelli having a breakaway and a two-on-one chance but to no avail.
Second period: Northland Pines- 3 Pacelli- 3
The Eagles came into the second with more aggression, capitalizing 19 seconds into the frame for their second goal. The offensive zone pressure from Northland Pines continued throughout the early stages, with Herheim making multiple stops. Pacelli countered about halfway through the period, with Eli Robinson beating Dominic Dahlquist one-on-one. That tied the game at 2-2.
Pacelli had another chance on the power play late. With only seconds remaining on the Eagles’ penalty, Assumption sophomore Avery Black broke the tie two minutes before intermission. Pines answered that goal with 48 seconds remaining.
Third period: Northland Pines- 5 Pacelli- 5
Pacelli came out of the third with adjustments. They scored 20 seconds into the period, but the Eagles answered right back.
“Coming into the third, we switched lines around,” Blake stated. “We had a couple freshmen that stepped up and we gave them a chance. They were skating hard.”
The two sides met great goaltending in the final period of regulation. The next goal did not come until five minutes left. Robinson beat Dahlquist again with his shot, gaining back the one-goal advantage. Zielinski nearly got his third of the game, but a pad save by Dahlquist kept the game within one score. That’s all Northland Pines needed. A late turnover at Pacelli’s blue line turned into a breakaway goal with 30 seconds left. The game headed to overtime.
Overtime had a similar feel to the previous three periods. Skating for nearly seven and a half minutes, Pacelli lit the lamp for the final time. Wojtalewicz rocketed one from the point that got through for the win.
The co-op improves to 1-1 on the season and plays next at home on Dec. 6 versus Tomahawk.