By Mark Jurgena, Reporter
The Triad hockey squad scored three goals in the final 2:10 to overcome a one goal deficit and defeat Highland 9-7 on December 3rd at the East Alton Ice Arena.
“That game is such a blur it was more like a track meet running up and down the ice. It was a game of turnovers and trying to capitalize on each other’s mistakes,” said coach Pat Culiberk.
With 3:41 to play Highland took a 7-6 lead on a goal by Kaiden Miles.
Triad answered back at the 2:10 mark on a goal by Christian Poddig. He was assisted by Jaxon Tscheulin .
With :58.4 to play Andrew Watts found the back of the net to give Triad the lead. Ethan McFarland picked up the assist.
With :35.6 left the duo again scored an insurance goal with the help of a Jordan Lewis assist.
Both of those goals were on the same shift.
“It was something we had to do. We had to have good shifts and they answered. We’ve got a good group of kids and they answered real well,” Culiberk said.
The furious comeback may never have occurred without the defensive play of Garrison Reed.
With Triad down one, and the Bulldogs on the attack, Reed forced a Highland turnover.
“He kind of was our turning point.(Lucas) Korte was coming out of their zone and Garrison just caught him as he was trying to cross the blue line with a wonderful hit. That momentum is what we built off of to come back and put those three pucks in the net,” Culiberk said.
Early in the game the two squads traded goals and at the 10:13 mark of the 2nd period the score was 4-4.
During that time frame Triad picked up two goals from McFarland and one each from Daniel Verhaar and Zack Davis.
The Bulldogs then flipped the script on Triad by scoring quickly to make it 5-4, however late in the 2nd, Triad tied it on McFarland’s third goal of the game. It was his third hat trick of the season.
Triad had to tie the game in the third at 6-6 with a goal at the 4:29 mark by Frankie Rynes.
That goal set up the late game heroics.
Assists for Triad not already noted were credited to McFarland, Davis, Verhaar, Watts, Garrison Reed, Jaxon Tscheulin, Jordan Lewis and Paige Stelzer.
Lucas Korte of Highland scored five goals in the game and added an assist. He leads the St. Louis area in goals (25) and points (33).
The previous night they were knocked off by the #2 ranked team in the MVCHA, Columbia, at the Granite City Ice Rink.
The final was 4-2.
“It was a great game and better than the first time we played them. We added a few more games to practice and we corrected some of our problems and they were just real visible in that first game,” said Culiberk.
That initial game was a 5-3 Columbia win November 18th.
Triad played the Eagles to a 1-1 draw after the first period but then gave up the next three goals and could not regain momentum in time.
“It was a good close game back and forth,” Culiberk said.
Christian Poddig scores an unassisted goal and Verhaar scored on a power play with an assist from Watts.
“We had a face off in their zone and everything went our way right off the face off. Our winger grabbed the puck and just put it bar down. It was a great goal,” said Culiberk.
Triad sat tied for 8th in league play with Edwardsville and O’Fallon. All three had six points.