Juneau-Douglas High School senior Cully Corrigan wisely held off celebrating what appeared to be a game-winning goal on Friday night at Treadwell Arena.
Standing six feet from the net early in an eight-minute sudden death overtime period, Corrigan watched the puck zip off the crossbar and teeter on the goal line for a split second before momentarily redirecting his stare.
“Looked over at the ref and it wasn’t a goal yet,” Corrigan said.
The senior promptly whacked the puck in the net, leaving nothing to chance and sealing a riveting a 4-3 overtime win over Homer High School. The Crimson Bears and Mariners go head-to-head again Saturday night.
“This is a really big win for us,” JDHS goaltender Cody Mitchell said. “We came in to this game knowing it was going a really tough game, and just being able to come out with a win is really good, makes the whole team a little bit more confident.”
Chance Turinsky and Owen Squires added the other goals and Bill Bosse and Greyson Liebelt combined for five assists in the win. Mitchell secured 28 saves.
The Mariners rallied from a three-goal deficit to tie the game with just 27 seconds to go. After going on the power play with 2:14 left in the game, Homer pulled goaltender Hunter Warren with 45 seconds left. The gamble paid off as Isaiah Nevak sent a hard shot past Mitchell to force overtime.
“We’re going hard the entire first and second period, dumping (the puck) trying to get more goals,” Liebelt said. “In the third period, we slowed down and started to play really defensive, which kind of nipped us, and then they got those two more goals.”
It was Juneau’s first time going into overtime on the season.
“We had to get back to what we were doing in the first period at the start of the game,” JDHS coach Luke Adams said. “Just really simple hockey, good possession. We knew they would get some opportunities, but we were confident we could counter. When we got that counter attack, kids delivered, and it was a good goal.”
Corrigan opened the scoring 5:23 into the second period on the power play. Squires doubled the Crimson Bears’ advantage later in the period, and Turinsky added another goal from the right circle.
Homer’s Ethan Pitzman got one goal back late in the second period, and Tyler Gilliland’s slap shot brought the Mariners within one goal with 3:55 left in the third period.
“It was just the conversation we had in the locker room between periods,” Nevak said of the turnaround. “We just told the boys we needed more energy and we came out with energy.”
Warren had 25 saves.