VIRGINIA — In a day when the playoff draw was released, the Virginia/Mountain Iron-Buhl Blue Devils and Hibbing/Chisholm Bluejackets locked up in hockey action.
The teams went head to head for three straight periods with Blue Devils senior Dillon Drake scoring back to back goals, including the game winner with just 1:09 to play, to lead Virginia Mountain-Buhl to a 3-2 victory in front of a very sparse crowd.
“Dillon is such a leader on this team,” Blue Devils coach Cale Finseth said. “The younger kids respect him so much for the way he plays the game and is such a leader.
Virginia/Mountain Iron-Buhl grabbed a 1-0 lead in the opening period when they took advantage of being on a 5-on-3 power play.
Brennan Peterson took a Braeden Tiedeman pass and beat Bluejackets netminder Vitek Vozdecky.
Keegan Ruedebusch also assisted in the tally.
“We were really moving the puck around on that five on three,” Finseth said.
The period came to an end with the Blue Devils holding the 1-0 lead.
The Bluejackets put a lot of pressure on Virginia/Mountain-Buhl in the period.
“I like the way we were playing in that period,” Hibbing coach Justin Tomberlin said. “The two penalties hurt us, but we were playing well.”
Hibbing came out flying in the second period.
With 9:28 to play in the period, Mitchel Ziembva took a Joe Allison pass and fired it past Blue Devils goaltender Ian Kangas to tie the game at 1-1.
Just 13 seconds later the same line gave the Bluejackets a 2-1 lead.
This time, Lund was right in front of the net and took a Ziemba pass and beat Kangas.
Ziemba also assisted on the goal.
“We were really skating out there,” Tomberlin said. “Skating hard and moving the puck led to the two goals.”
The Blue Devils tied the game up at 2-2 with 1:20 left to play in the second period.
Drake took a Peterson pass and beat Vozdecky. Ryan Scherf also assisted on the goal.
The period came to an end with the teams tied.
Kangas had a busy period for Virginia/Mountain Iron-Buhl, turning away 10 shots, while Vozdecky only faced five.
The Bluejackets continued to put pressure on Kangas in the third period.
Hibbing had a 5 minute power play when Blue Devil Scherf was given 5 minutes for boarding.
Virginia killed off the penalty without any damage being done.
Hibbing continued to put pressure on Kangas in the Virginia/Mountain Iron-Buhl net.
With the game looking like it was headed to overtime, a Bluejackets defenseman unleashed a big shot that was blocked by Drake who picked up the puck and skated in on Vozdecky, and beat him over his shoulder with the game winning goal.
“Like I said before, he is such a leader for us,” Finseth said. “He blocks the shot and then skates hard to pick up the puck.”
The game came to an end with Kangas kicking out 29 Hibbing shots, while Vozdecky turned aside 15.
“I proud of these guys,” Tomberlin said. “They worked out there and gave it their all and as a coach, that’s all I can ask.”
Virginia will be back in action on Thursday, when they host Greenway, the same team they will face in the first round of the playoffs next Tuesday.
“We will have to come out and be ready to play on Thursday,” Finseth said.
HHS 0 2 0 — 2
V/MIB 1 1 1 — 3
1, V/MIB, Brennan Peterson (Braeden Tiedeman, Keegan Ruedebusch);
2, HHS, Mitchell Ziemba (Ethan Lund, Joe Allison); 3, HHS, Lund (Ziemba, Allison); 4, V/MIB, Dillon Drake (Peterson, Ryan Scherf);
5, V/MIB, Drake (unassisted)
Saves: HHS, Vitek Vozdecky, 15; V/MIB, Ian Kangas, 29;
Penalties: HHS, 5-10; V/MIB, 5-9;