The Chatfield Chargers proved Jan. 26 that defining moments don’t come by chance.
The fact that the Chargers scored twice in the third period to send their Class 5A Foothills League contest against Regis into overtime might have caught most hockey minds by surprise.
The fact that Regis ended the contest eight seconds into overtime to clinch a dramatic 3-2 victory at The Edge Ice Arena might have seemed like the obvious conclusion to anyone not in the building.
The reality, however, is that Chatfield, despite its 6-8-1 record (3-4 in league) and second-year status, showed it belonged on the ice with one of the state’s traditional powers. Better yet, the Chargers played well enough that they could have not only won, but deserved it.
While a victory would have been more tangible validation, the Chargers reaffirmed they are a talented program that appears to be on the cusp of something special.
“They played so hard the last period,” said Chargers coach Bradd Markusch, who spoke with a mixture of pride and pain. “They came out, they wanted this game real bad. They were focused. That’s all they talked about all week was winning this game.
”We prepared all week for this game and I knew they were going to come out hard. I had a feeling we had an upset in mind just because of the attitude of the kids this week. They are not quitters.”
Chatfield twice rallied to tie the game, first on a goal by Kristofer Boguniewicz and then a power-play goal from the short side by Matt Anthone with 3:12 remaining.
In overtime, the Raiders (4-0-1, 10-1-1) won the draw and Nick Carey skated down the right side and beat goalie Cory Johnson to his right.
Johnson, who finished with 18 saves, stood on his head at times, especially during a penalty-filled second period. Behind key efforts from his penalty killers, especially Kristopher Amstutz and Nicholas Kroha, Johnson kept the Raiders scoreless in six power-play opportunities.
“We’re staying in there with the top teams,” Johnson said. “We can compete.”
Both teams played an up-and-down style, although Regis did have a better time holding the puck in its offensive zone and generating more potential scoring opportunities. But that changed in the third period as Boguniewicz scored 29 seconds in off a nice pass from Anthone.
Sami Stornelli sent the puck into the Regis zone where Anthone got to it behind goalie David Nowicki’s net. Anthone sent a slow centering pass that a Regis defender skated over, leaving Boguniewicz alone for a point-blank finish.
The Raiders regained the lead with 6:25 remaining Jack Krowl’s slapper from the blue line was blocked by Regis’ Evan Lloyd, ricocheting to Taylor Cline for a breakaway goal that might have never gone in.
“He came down center, our guy tripped him and he got the shot off backhanded,” Johnson said. “I just caught it with my glove. I had it in the air the entire time. My back hit the net and I had the puck in my glove but I kept my glove out the entire time.”
The Chargers knotted the score at 2-2 when Anthone skated down the left side and fired a wobbly shot that trickled in over Nowicki.