Videographer/Reporter: Michael Ewen
The Tommie men’s hockey team needed overtime but was able to upset Hamline 5-4 Saturday night at Drake Arena.
St. Thomas junior forward Andrew Kappers scored the game-winning goal five minutes into the overtime period. Senior forward Alex Arnason assisted the goal, offering a pass into the slot and allowing Kappers to beat Piper goalie Beau Christian.
“We broke the puck out, and my line mate [Arneson] just kept going up the side and ended up finding me in the slot, and I just kinda fired the puck between the defensemen’s legs, and it happened to go in on the glove side,” Kappers said.
The win did not come easy for St. Thomas, who were outshot in the game 45-29 and found themselves fighting in their defensive end for much of the game.
“We knew we were the underdog, but we knew we were confident and could win the game,” Kappers said.
Hamline got the scoring started early when junior defensemen Jared Hummel slapped a shot from the blue line that found its way through traffic in front and beat Tommie goaltender Joe Schraeder.
St. Thomas answered 10 minutes later when Steve Murphy beat Christian through the five hole. Freshmen forward Riley Horgan lit the lamp with his second goal of the season just over a minute later, giving the Tommies a 2-1 advantage at the end of the first period.
“That is what it’s about in the playoffs,” senior captain Parker Burgess said. “Your third and fourth line guys, your fifth and sixth D are going to step up. They’re going to come out of the woodwork, and you know they are going to make things happen, and that is what you need to be successful… that and some goaltending.”
The physical play picked up in the second period for both teams, and penalties became an issue. St. Thomas had four of their seven penalties in the period, leading to a lopsided 10-6 shot margin in favor of the Pipers.
The Tommies took advantage of Piper forward Kyle Kurr’s holding penalty late in the period with a power play goal by forward Rob Johnson.
St. Thomas went into the locker room with a 3-1 advantage, despite the continuous Piper pressure.
The lead grew to three goals about seven minutes into the third when Murphy received a penalty shot after being denied a scoring opportunity by Piper’s defensemen Chris Berenguer.
“I looked to the ref as soon as he slashed me, and I didn’t know if it was going to be a penalty or a penalty shot, you know. Either way, I buried it, so we’re happy,” Murphy said.
Murphy raised his arms to the crowd before skating down and snapping a shot that again beat Christian through the five hole.
“I like to go up high, but I already beat him [Christian] once five-hole, so I figured, what the hell, I will try again,” Murphy said. “Luckily, it went in.“
The Piper’s pressure continued throughout the third period and they climbed back with three goals.
Forward Kelly Plude scored two of the Piper’s three goals in the third period, helping them push the game into overtime.
The win gives the Tommies their 12th win of the season, assuring Coach Terry Skypek his 23rd-consecutive winning season at St. Thomas.
St. Thomas will play for the MIAC Championship Wednesday night against either Gustavus or Augsburg.
“We’re gonna relish this win tonight and then, come tomorrow morning, we are going to forget about it [and] prepare for whoever we got,” Burgess said.
Brian Matthews can be reached at email@example.com.