100th-Win Overtime Thriller

Concordia players spill on to the ice to celebrate Dalton Mills' game-winning goal in overtime against St. Mary's.
Concordia players spill on to the ice to celebrate Dalton Mills' game-winning goal in overtime against St. Mary's.

WINONA, Minn. (1/12/18)--- Dalton Mills' snipe from the left circle capped an end-to-end overtime thriller which saw Concordia come back from a 2-0 deficit to post a 5-4 win over St. Mary's.

Mills' game winner earned Cobber head coach Chris Howe his 100th career collegiate victory. Howe becomes the third coach in Concordia history to reach the 100-win milestone.

The Cobbers scored three straight goals after the Cardinals took a 2-0 lead in the first four minutes of the opening period and then traded tallies with SMU to record their seventh win of the season.

The victory gives Concordia a 4-2-1 record in MIAC play which vaults them into fourth place in the league standings – five points clear of the fifth-place team. CC is now 7-6-3 overall.    

The Cobbers returned to the friendly confines of the Moorhead Sports Center since November but it was St. Mary's who looked like they were glad to be playing in Moorhead.

The Cardinals went up 2-0 before the game was a little more than 4-minutes old. The opened the game with a tally at 3:22 and then doubled the lead at 4:03.

Concordia would start their quintet of end-to-end goals when sophomore Quinn Fuchs one-time home a centering pass from Mills. The play started in the CC defensive zone and then the Cobbers raced through neutral ice before finishing off the quick-strike attack. That scenario would play out four more times as Concordia was able to catch the Cardinals on the counter throughout the game.

Joe Burgmeier had the second assist on CC's opener.

Jon Grebosky tied the game midway through the period when he also one-time a centering pass just outside the right post. This time the pass came courtesy of a seeing-eye backhand special off the stick of junior Mario Bianchi. Bianchi sped over the SMU blueline and then floated a backhand pass from the left circle that knifed through the St. Mary's defense and came to rest on the tape of Grebosky's stick.

Concordia completed their trio of first-period goals when Tanner Okeson snapped home a shot from the left faceoff circle after playing a nifty give-and-go at the Cardinal blueline. Sophomore defenseman Eddie Eades started the go-ahead scoring play when he found Okeson coming out of the CC defensive end.

St. Mary's (3-10-2/1-5-1 MIAC) tied the game with the only goal in the second period.

The Cobbers would retake the lead at 5:13 of the third period when defenseman Bryan Kronberger went top shelf after getting a drop pass from Fuchs. The play once again originated in the Cobber end of the ice and was a result of CC's speed through the neutral zone.   

The Cardinals tied the game for the final time at 12:17 when they were able to capitalize on a 5-on-3 power play.

That would set the stage for Mills' heroics in the fourth minute of overtime. He collected a pass just inside his own blueline and then rushed up the left wing. The St. Mary's defense allowed Mills to skate with the puck into the SMU defensive end. He then fired a wrist shot from the top of the left circle that found nothing but the top right corner of the net.

Both teams had three shots on goal and both teams had quality chances to score.

Concordia was edged 37-36 in shots on goal for the game. Both teams had 11 shots in the first period and 12 in the middle frame. Grebosky and Bianchi had six shots each to lead the Cobbers.

Cobber sophomore netminder Sam Nelson made 33 saves to collect his fourth win of the year.

100-WIN COACHES: Chris Howe is only the third coach in Cobber men's hockey history to record 100 wins behind the bench. He joins all-time wins leader Steve Baumagartner (221) and long-time, Hall of Fame mentor Al Rice (215).

BIANCHI BAGS ANOTHER: Mario Bianchi had an assist in the opener vs. St. Mary's and has now tallied at least one point in six of the past seven games. He also has scored at least one point in 11 games this year and leads the team in scoring with six goals and 13 assists for 19 points. Bianchi is currently tied for the league lead in points and leads the MIAC in assists.

OKESON IS OK: Tanner Okeson continues to put his name on the scoresheet in his sophomore season. Okeson had one of the five Concordia goals on Friday and now has two goals and nine assists for 11 points on the year. His 11 points is four more than he had in all of his freshman season in 2017. Okeson is currently tied for second in the MIAC in points by a blueliner.

WHAT'S NEXT: The two teams will square off in the series finale on Saturday, Jan. 13 at 2 p.m. at the Moorhead Sports Center.