Jared Wolf stopped every Fountain Valley shot that came his way Saturday. Except the one that deflected off his own player’s stick and into the net.
By then, however, Doherty had long since put the game away, so the tally with just 30.1 seconds left did nothing to change the outcome at the World Arena Ice Hall.
Cameron Komrofske’s power-play goal in the second period ended more than 27 minutes of scoreless hockey, Dusty Kachel had three assists and Doherty scored four times in the third period to break open a close game, beating Fountain Valley 5-1.
Wolf lost the shutout when Caleb Hurwitz’s shot from the right point tipped off the stick of Spartans defenseman Ty Snyder.
“It was an unfortunate bounce, but we got the win,” Wolf said. “That’s all that matters.”
Doherty (11-3), blasted by Heritage 9-0 one week earlier, took out its frustrations on Rampart on Wednesday in a 6-0 win. The Spartans knew a much different game was in order against a Danes (10-3) team that had won its previous seven games, highlighted by a 4-3 overtime victory over Heritage less than 24 hours earlier.
The Danes, with only 12 skaters on their roster, played a conservative style, taking calculated risks on offense and putting limited pressure on Wolf. Doherty’s defense limited Fountain Valley to just seven shots on goal through two periods.
Doherty also found its chances few and far between, registering just eight shots through the first 34 minutes. But 13 seconds after Fountain Valley’s Jacob Simonich was sent off for hooking, Komrofske converted a cross-ice pass from Snyder into a one-time slapshot that beat Danes goalie Lucas Huerga Marin high to the glove side.
“Whoever got that first goal had the momentum for sure,” Komrofske said. “Once Dusty won the faceoff back to Ty and passed it over to me and I scored, it was an unbelievable feeling. Our fans just went off and it sent chills down my neck.”
The floodgates opened in the third period. Brennan Ward made it 2-0 just 43 seconds into the third period, pouncing on a Snyder rebound and scoring into an empty net. Evan Weidner added a power-play goal on a 3-on-2 break, and Patrick Alldredge and Jordan Barrett scored 3:10 apart as the Spartans poured it on late.
“We were physically and emotionally tired from the game the night before,” Danes junior Sage Marshall said. “It was quite a roller coaster. We wanted to try to limit our mistakes but didn’t do a good job. They played well. They were physical, moved the puck well and we couldn’t stop them.”
Marshall had three of the Danes’ best scoring chances. In the early minutes, the junior took a loose puck in the corner, skated out into the slot and sent a wrist shot just over the crossbar. With the Spartans holding a 2-0 lead, Wolf stopped Marshall on a breakaway, kicking out his right leg against the post. With 4:30 left, Wolf turned away Marshall from point-blank range, the winger putting both hands on his head in disgust.
“Jared played awesome,” said Marshall, who hails from Telluride. “I needed to get the puck up but left it on the ice and he saved it. We just couldn’t put the puck in the net.”