Published: January 9, 2014
After a first period that featured two offenses that rivaled this week's polar vortex, things heated up inside Sertich Ice Center on Thursday night.
Doherty and Cheyenne Mountain combined for five goals in the second period, four in a 3:21 span, but it was Brennen Ward and the Spartans (4-3) pumping their fists in victory following a 5-4 win over the Indians (3-7).
Ward broke a 2-2 tie by hammering home a power-play goal as he went crashing to the ice in front of the Cheyenne Mountain net with 4:38 remaining in the second. The senior captain, who had given Doherty a 1-0 lead 4:03 into the period, erupted from the ice in celebration after his second goal of the game capped a wild second period.
"Cellies (celebrations) are the best part," Ward said. "We can score with anybody, so we just have to focus and play harder than they do."
First, Michael Rodighiero (breakaway) and Doug Klopenstine (power play) scored 56 seconds apart to give the Indians a 2-1 lead with 7:03 left in the period. However, a minute and a half later the Spartans answered with an outburst of their own as Jake Komrofske and Ward scored power-play goals, also 56 seconds apart.
Beyond the fact that it gave his team the lead, it was a relief for Ward to bail himself out of three penalties - including two in a scoreless first period that Cheyenne Mountain failed to capitalize on.
"It's good to redeem myself because I put the team in a bad spot first of all," Ward said after also picking up an assist on Dillon Dunlop's third-period goal that turned out to be the game-winner.
Ty Snyder extended his points streak to three games by assisting on Komrofske's goal.
"It's fun," Snyder said. "You have to keep the tempo up and keep the team going or else it's all downhill."
Klopenstine finished with two goals for Cheyenne Mountain, including a short-handed tally with 34.8 seconds remaining that made it a one-goal game.
Brandon Velasquez made 24 saves in goal for Doherty, and Cheyenne Mountain's Ryan McCann had 26 stops in a game that saw 11 combined penalties.
Doherty coach Will English simply smiled about the rapid back-and-forth offensive showcase on the ice and called it an example of a good hockey game.
"For us, we have been working on finding that energy, that tempo, or that eruption," English said. "What is that spark? What's it going to take for us?
"The reality comes down to the fact of who wants it more, and I think we wanted it more throughout the entire game. We just didn't get a couple of bounces early, but, look, we got the W in the end."