WINONA, MN. --- JANUARY 30, 2000
The Quad City Ice Eagle Bantam travel team won its second tournament of the season, taking home first place honors in the “Fire on Ice” Classic with a 3-1 win over Centennial, Minnesota in the championship game. Austin Busch scored the first two goals in the final game, and Goalie Brandon Morgan’s strong goaltending earned the championship trophy. Details of each game of the tournament follow.
Friday’s opening game matched the Eagles with the team from Mounds View, Minnesota, and the Eagles wasted little time in taking total control of the contest. The line of Busch, Moon and Hasselbusch accounted for five goals and six assists in leading QC to an easy 6-1 win. Busch scored the first two goals of the game, the first coming with 10:30 to go, and he added his second with 4:15 left, both goals assisted by Center Josh Moon. Early in the second, Busch returned the favor, setting up Moon with a perfect pass which Josh one-timed past the Mounds goalie. After Justin Welsh scored with 9:01 left in the second, the Eagles pushed the lead to 5-0 when Jack Hasselbusch followed up Busch’s shot with a rebound goal with just three seconds left in the period. Moon finished the Eagles’ scoring with his second of the night midway through the third period, assisted by Jacobsen and Busch.
The only disappointment of the game came when Morgan just failed to earn a shutout when Mounds View scored with two minutes left, on a freak shot that deflected off the shaft of Morgan’s stick.
Game two of the tournament was against the host team, Goodview-Winona, and it developed into one of the best played and most exciting contests of the year. The game was dead even for the first ten minutes, before Josh Moon put the Eagles ahead. With 4:48 remaining in the first, Moon’s slapshot found the back of the net from near the blue line, and just 27 seconds later, another blast from the left wing cleanly beat the goalie to give the Eagles a sudden 2-0 lead. But Winona quickly regrouped, and cut the lead in half midway through the second period. With the Eagles trying to protect a shaky one-goal lead entering the third period, Winona continued to pressure Brandon Kruse in the Eagle net. They tied the game at 10:15 of the third, and then took their first lead of the game with 5:00 left on a goal disputed by the Eagles, who felt Kruse had control of the puck for several seconds before it was jammed into the net.
Now down 3-2 in the waning minutes, the Eagles caught a break when the officials called two penalties on Winona only :11 seconds apart, giving the Eagles a 5-on-3 advantage. Chad Dotterer got control of the puck in the slot and buried the equalizer with 2:49 left, and forcing overtime. This would mark Winona’s second straight overtime battle, with the host team having won a shoot-out against New Ulm the night before.
The format called for a five minute 5-on-5 sudden death period, to be followed by a 4-on-4 five-minute period, and then a shoot-out if necessary. With two minutes gone in the first overtime, a Winona forward broke away with Josh Moon in hot pursuit. With Moon hanging on him from the blue line in, the shooter failed to score. Everyone expected a hook or hold penalty on Moon, but the referee angered the Quad City crowd when he signaled for a penalty shot. With the game on the line, the Winona shooter came in on Kruse, but whistled his shot off the right post, keeping Quad City hopes alive. The second overtime featured close calls for both teams, but neither could score, setting up the shoot-out format. With the Eagles shooting first, both John Carr and Moon were thwarted in their penalty shot attempts, but Ryne Takacs scored to put the Eagles up1-0. Winona quickly tied it on their next attempt. Mark Muenstermann failed on his attempt, but so did Winona’s fourth shooter, who lost control of the puck before he even crossed the blue line. Austin Busch was QC’s last shooter, and he beat the Winona goalie low to the glove side, setting up a do-or-die effort for Winona. He tried a move similar to Busch, but Kruse stayed low and made a pad save for the shoot-out win.
The win put the Eagles in the championship game against Centennial, who advanced to the final with a 1-0 victory over Ames. The Eagles took to the ice, hoping to add another tournament trophy, with Brandon Morgan in goal. The teams battled through a scoreless first period, but it was Austin Busch again putting the Eagles on top early in the second period, beating the Centennial defenseman and then firing a low shot that beat the goalie, low to the glove side. Robbie Jacobsen picked up the assist. Trying to protect their one-goal lead, the Eagles got their second goal thanks to some great hustle by Defenseman Brandon Balsar. Balsar sprinted down the right boards to negate a potential icing call, and centered the puck to Busch, who had all day to wait for the goalie to make a move before burying his shot.
But the Eagles couldn’t stand the prosperity of a two- goal lead. Just seconds later, Centennial had a 3-on-2 break. As Dotterer was being called for a delayed hooking penalty, the Centennial forwards kept control of the puck and managed to beat Morgan before the whistle was blown, setting the stage for another nail-biting finish. During the final minute, Coach Moon called on his most experienced veterans – Moon, Busch, Takacs, Corcoran and Jacobsen – to close out the win. With nineteen seconds left, Moon set up Takac for an empty net goal, which clinched the championship, with the final score 3-1.
The Eagles improved their record to 25-8-1, as they prepare to close out their CIHL schedule during the coming weeks. The Springfield Kings bring their goon style of hockey to the QCSC for two games next Sunday.