Holy…Cow! Flint Powers faced off against Midland Dow in a battle for Saginaw Valley Conference supremacy before a large crowd last night at the Crystal Field House. After playing from behind most of the game, the Chargers roared back to tie the game at 3-3 before junior forward Sam Lechel scored with 33 seconds remaining in regulation time. The victory gave Powers its first SVL title in several years.
The SVL rivals battled furiously during the first period with neither team being able to score as Dow goalie Jeremy Slasor and Powers netminder Brady Stebbins rudely refused to allow any goals.
In the second period, Dow took the lead at 13:11 when forward Case LaRue lit the red light with an assist from defenseman Jon Baillargeon. Three minutes later, Dow took a 2-0 lead on a goal from Jon Baillargeon, who was assisted by fellow defenseman Joey Johnson. The Powers offense finally checked in to the game when junior forward Christian Wentworth scored his ninth goal of the season with the able assistance of sophomore forwards Luke Evo and Mason Weiss. 2-1 in favor of Dow at the end of the second period.
Dow came out hot in the third period as Jeremy Brookens buried one with help from forward Casey LaRue at 16:37. Powers’ dormant offense reawakened at 9:53 on a goal by senior forward Conor Witherspoon, who one-timed a sweet pass from line mate senior forward Brendan Smith. Nearly seven minutes of brutal action followed as both teams battled for time and space. Powers tied the game at 3 all when junior forward Cam Conover found the back of the net with assists from defenseman Josh Warda and forward Cam Lieffers. The struggle continued as the clock ticked down. It appeared that overtime would be necessary to determine the SVL champion; however, junior forward Sam Lechel had a different plan. Lechel was positioned in the slot when the puck took flight and sailed over head on its way out of the Dow zone. In a great demonstration of athleticism, Lechel leaped and snatched the puck out the air, threw it to the ice and slammed it past the Dow goaltender for the dramatic game-winner. Powers’ captain, Jake Polakowski assisted on the Lechel’s game-winner.
Cardiac health will continue to be imperiled as Powers faces Saginaw Heritage in a pre-regional contest on Tuesday, February 28 at the Crystal Field House.