Missed Opportunities: Tommies heavily outshoot Lions, but finish with tie

St. Thomas’ Lucas Wahlin tries to sneak the puck past Lindenwood goalie Trent Burnham during a game Oct. 20 in Mendota Heights. (Photo by Ryan Stieg)

By Ryan Stieg 

MENDOTA HEIGHTS, Minn. — Hockey can be a funny game. Sometimes a team can heavily outshoot its opponent, but not emerge victorious.

The St. Thomas men’s hockey squad was in that situation Friday night as it dominated Lindenwood 63-25 on the shot chart, but the Tommies couldn’t maintain any of their leads and finished with only a 4-4 tie.  

“I thought we came out really well in the first period and they came back and made a push and I thought we responded after that,” Tommies head coach Rico Blasi said. “They’re a big, strong team. They play a pretty good team brand game. We had our chances and their goaltender played extremely well.” 

The first period was a flurry of chances for the Tommies as they ended up outshooting LU 28-3. After UST was unable to solve Lions netminder Trent Burnham during an early five-minute power play, sophomore forward Luc Laylin got the Tommies on the scoreboard with a nice individual effort. Laylin fought off a defender and while falling down, tucked it underneath Burnham’s pads to make it 1-0 at the 17:17 mark. With 29 seconds left in the period, Cooper Gay put the Tommies up 2-0 after he tapped a rebound past Burnham for his first goal of the season.  

St. Thomas’ Cooper Gay fights for the puck during a rush into the Lindenwood zone during a game Oct. 20 in Mendota Heights. (Photo by Ryan Stieg)

The Tommies appeared to be in control as they continued to generate scoring opportunities in the second period, but then things got a little out of hand. LU got one goal back at the 9:58 mark on a tally by Montreal Canadiens prospect Kieran Ruscheinski and less than a minute later, Kyle Jeffers tied things up at 2-2.  

Just when the Lions looked like they were on the cusp of grabbing their first lead, Tommies forward Jake Braccini got a nice feed from Gay in the slot and snapped it past Burnham at the 14:38 mark to give the Tommies a 3-2 advantage heading into the third.  

LU wasn’t done though. With Tommies goalie Aaron Trotter flat on his back, Lions forward Shane Lavelle tapped a loose puck into an open net to tie the game at 3-3 at the 1:44 mark. The Tommies answered back quickly though as Ryan O’Neill snapped a wrister past Burnham on the power play at the 2:32 mark to give UST a slim 4-3 lead.  

St. Thomas’ Matthew Gleason tries to keep the puck away from Lindenwood’s Jaeden Mercier during a game Oct. 20 in Mendota Heights. (Photo by Ryan Stieg)

The seesaw affair continued though as the Lions’ Adam Conquest managed to get the puck past Trotter’s leg and into the net to tie it up at 4-4 at the 13:09 mark. UST had two good chances to score in overtime, but Burnham made two huge saves to keep the game tied.  

“I thought both teams played hard, especially in the second and the third,” Blasi said. “They’re tenacious and give them credit. They stuck around and they didn’t break. We had our chances in the third and we had our chances in overtime, but their goaltender bested us.” 

The two teams tangle again tonight at 6 p.m. in Mendota Heights.  

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