Updated: Jan 19
By Phillip Goodman
After a weekend series split in Colorado with the Breckenridge Vipers, the Reno Ice Raiders returned home for a pair of games against the Calumet (Cal-YOO-met) Wolverines on Dec. 3 and Dec 4.
The Friday night tilt left the Ice Raiders shaking their heads in frustration after a 7-4 loss that should not have been. A more disciplined Raiders team was 1-for-2 on the penalty kill but did give up one shorthanded goal.
With the Wolverines up 2-1 halfway through the first period, Reno appeared to have tied the game when the puck trickled past Wolverine netminder Ian Carroll. However the goal line official couldn’t see the puck from his angle and play continued.
“That missed goal changed the entire dynamic of the game,” Ice Raider Zeph Fagergren said after the game. “Still, we have to do a better job of capitalizing on our other chances.”
Ian Carroll was a wall for the Wolverines, stopping 43 of 47 Ice Raiders’ shots on goal. Newcomer Tony Civello allowed 7 goals on 31 shots, although many of the Wolverines’ chances came on breakaways. The Wolverines sent area passes from their defensive zone through the middle of the ice to streaking wingers for some clear cut breaks.
The Ice Raiders also added new talents Bobby Watson and Keegan Jones. They were standouts for the Ice Raiders, demonstrating speed and crafty play. Jones was robbed by Caroll on a couple of quality chances on Friday night.
In addition to outshooting Calumet, Reno dominated the face off circles winning 62% of the game’s draws.
On Saturday’s rubber match, the Raiders seemed like they would bounce off the mat to deliver a win to the capacity crowd. Calumet grabbed an early lead 90 seconds in but Reno’s Charlie Montgomery tied the score a minute later. Sam Mancini gave the Ice Raiders their first lead of the series with a nifty spin move and backhander nine minutes in.
The lead would be short lived as Calumet tallied the next three scores of the period, two at even strength and one on a two-man advantage. Calumet extended their lead to 6-2 early in the second period and the Ice Raiders started clawing their way back.
Andrew Peterson lasered a wrister from the blue line on the power play to cut the Wolverine’s lead to three goals. With a few ticks left in the second period, Zeph Fagergren tapped home a Bobby Watson shot that trickled between the legs of Wolverines goalie Jason Karne for a 6-4 score going into intermission.
Early in the third, Keegan Jones tracked down a loose puck behind the Calumet net and slid a backhand pass to Fagergren crashing the net for a one-timer goal and a one-goal deficit.
The Wolverines rebounded, netting two clutch power goals and extending their lead to 8-5. As they have been in this trailing position many times, Ice Raiders would not give up. With 2:42 remaining, Keegan Jones flew down the right wing, cut through the middle of the slot and beat Karne for an 8-6 score.
Moments later, Ramzy Anderson buried a one-timer on a loose puck in the slot with 1:27 remaining, injecting a bolt of energy into the rowdy Saturday Reno crowd. The comeback would fall short though in the ensuing sequence when Sam Mancini was called for checking from behind. On the Ice Raiders’ dump-in, the Wolverine defensemen hit the brakes and turned his back just as Mancini had already committed to making the hit.
“We’re still dealing with getting the right personnel and line combinations,” Ice Raiders Coach Shane Hicke said. “[The Wolverines] are a club of guys that have been playing with each other forever and it shows. We’re still working on getting all the talent we have in Reno together and making the right matchups. We will get it and we’ll get a win for these fans, who have been amazing all season.”
The next games for the Reno Ice Raiders will be Jan. 7th and 8th in Fort Worth, TX against the Barracudas. The Ice Raiders return home on Jan. 14th and 15th with games against the Breckenridge Vipers. Ticket sales info will be released after the start of the new year.
Happy Holidays, everyone!