For nearly seven-and-a-half overtime minutes Saturday, the Juneau-Douglas High School hockey team pressured Delta Junction High School's defense to break a 5-5 tie at Treadwell Arena.
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It looked like the Husky defense was going to hold on for the tie when Crimson Bears captain James Gamez innocently intercepted a pass at mid-ice with only seconds left. Gamez glided past one defender then, in one move, faked his way around two more and rocked a shot past a stunned goalie with 2.5 seconds left to cap a 6-5 win.
"I did this 'deke' thing that I was practicing at home in my garage today and said, 'Okay, I'm gonna use this today' - just a quick little thing," Gamez said, referring to a fake-out move. "The defense went the other way and I got it in the top-left shelf. It was like euphoria."
The Crimson Bears coaches beamed with delight after the overtime thriller.
"That was absolutely the best eight minutes of hockey this team has ever played," said Bears coach Scott Foster said. "They jumped on top of it and they took it away from the other team."
Saturday's game against Delta Junction seemed to be slipping away from JDHS (11-9) early in the third period.
The Huskies had just gone up 5-3 with only 11:22 left to play.
A holding penalty to Delta's Heath Gebauer at 7:22 game the Bears a power play, giving the home team the break they needed. The skating, hitting and chanting was at a fever pitch when Albert Svensson pulled them to within one at 7:14. T.J. Preston's equalizer with 5:31 left in regulation rocked the rink to the point where the boards were shaking.
JDHS attacked even harder in overtime, firing five tough shots at Huskies goalie Gary Olson-Saville before Gamez' heroics.
Each team netted three goals in the opening period, but in the second the Huskies certainly seemed to have the upper hand. Delta Junction controlled the puck throughout the period and scored the go-ahead goal with 1:10 left.
"The locker room speech going into the third period was short of sweet, shall we say," said Foster. "I just laid some basic facts out on the table, and we (coaches) left them to think about it themselves."
For two of the Crimson Bears, Saturday's overtime thriller marked the final game of their high school careers. Ian Nankervis and T.J. Preston will not play on Feb. 2-3 against Monroe Catholic due to other school obligations.
"It didn't really sink in that it was my last game until the overtime," said Preston, a defenseman. "It couldn't have been more picture perfect because defensemen don't usually get to score and James and I ended up getting the win and the tie, respectively."
Nankervis earned the assist on Preston's game-tying goal in the third period.
After Gamez's game winner, Nankervis lay motionless on the ice, letting the emotion sink in.
Junior forward Andrew Ainsworth scored two first-period goals to lead JDHS. Goalie Alex Vick stopped 23 of 28 shots with Kelsey Preston stopping five third-period and overtime shots as a super substitute.
On Friday, Svensson scored four goals to lead JDHS to a 6-2 win.
Two of Svensson's goals came on the power play as he scored a natural hat trick with three goals in the second period. All three goals came in a span of 4 minutes, 5 seconds.
Freshman goaltender Sam Post stopped 18 of 20 shots with Preston turning aside four shots in relief.
Olson-Saville made 21 saves for Delta Junction.
JDHS 6, Delta Junction 5 OT
JDHS 3 0 2 1 - 6
DJ 3 1 1 0 - 5
First period - JD, A. Ainsworth (K. Carlson), 11:04; JD, Good (T. Preston), 9:35; DJ, Pflugrad (Erickson, Lupo), 6:14; JD, A. Ainsworth (unassisted), 3:57; DJ, Morden (Lupo), 3:51; DJ, Lupo (unassisted), :15.
Second period - DJ, Smith (unassisted), PPG, 1:10.
Third period - DJ, Brown (unassisted), 11:22; JD, Svensson (K. Carlson), PPG, 7:14; JD, T. Preston (Mayer, Klawonn), 5:31.
Overtime - JD, Gamez (unassisted), :02.5.
Shots on goal - Juneau-Douglas, 8-6-7-6-27; Delta Junction, 14-6-11-2-33.
Power-play opportunities - Juneau-Douglas, 1-6; Delta Junction, 1-7.
Goalies - Juneau-Dougals, Vick 11-5-7 (28 shots-23 saves), Preston 3-2 (5 shots-5 saves). Delta Junction, Olson-Saville 5-6-5-5 (27 shots-21 saves).
JDHS 6, Delta Junction 2
JDHS 1 3 2 - 6
DJ 1 1 0 - 2
First period - DJ, Pflugrad (Lupo), 8:17; JD, Nankervis (Hickok), 7:02.
Second period - DJ, Lupo (unassisted), 11:13; JD, Svensson (A. Ainsworth), PPG, 4:43; JD, Svensson (unassisted), 4:01; JD, Svensson (unassisted), PPG, :38.
Third period - JD, Svensson (Gamez, K. Carlson), 11:53; JD, Good (unassisted), 10:41.
Shots on goal - Juneau-Douglas, 7-11-9-27; Delta Junction, 9-7-8-24.
Power-play opportunities - Juneau-Douglas, 2-3; Delta Junction 0-1.
Goalies - Juneau-Douglas, Post 8-6-4 (20 shots-18 saves), Preston 4 (4 shots-4 saves); Delta Junction, Olson-Saville 6-8-7 (27 shots-21 saves).