Gloves off, stick resting on the ice, Matt Fellman dropped to his knees and hovered over the gear, rubbing his palms together.
Then the Soldotna High School hockey team formed a circle around its hero.
"Stick on fire," Fellman said of his celebration after tallying the game-winning goal. "You haven't heard of that one?"
Fellman stole the puck less than five seconds after coming off the bench in overtime, taking it on a breakaway the other direction and tucking it under the crossbar to propel SoHi over Colony 3-2 in overtime Friday on senior night at the Soldotna Sports Center.
The win, coupled with a 4-3 loss Saturday against Palmer, makes the Stars 10-5-3 overall and 2-3-3 in Northstar Conference play heading into the latter part of the season.
Fellman's only goal of the game came at the at 7:01 mark of the extra period during a line change in which he hopped from the bench onto the ice and swiftly stole the puck as a Colony player took it along the boards toward SoHi's goal.
With possession, Fellman got behind Colony's defense and beat goaltender Jason Murak with a high shot past Murak's left arm. The goal capped a thrilling victory on night when three players were ejected and the teams combined for 38 penalty minutes.
"I saw the guy coming down the ice and I had the choice to either check him or take the puck," Fellman said. "I took the puck since it was overtime."
It was a physical game from the beginning as Kevin Stone of SoHi and Barton Cline of Colony were ejected for fighting midway through the first period.
Play was stopped for about three minutes as the officials sorted out a slew of penalties when Stone tackled Cline after a SoHi player was punched in the face during a scuffle.
Then, with 27 seconds left in the period, Colony's Kevin Hartley was sent off for a major infraction.
"Both teams came out with a little chip on their shoulder," SoHi coach Aaron Swanson said. "The physical play was great. It's the extra stuff that definitely isn't needed. The refs did a nice job of taking care of that early."
The Knights took a 1-0 lead at the 4:52 mark of the first when Daryl Belanger took the puck coast-to-coast unassisted for his first of two goals, beating SoHi goalie Dawson Pearson to Pearson's right.
SoHi evened the score on a power play in the second when senior Zack Waters finished assists from Fellman and Dalton Pearson with 10:58 left in the period.
Belanger then scored his second goal, making it 2-1 with the Knights on a power play at the 3:44 mark of the second. That was Colony's last score, however, as Dawson Pearson finished with 25 saves.
SoHi got the equalizer late in the second at full strength, with Jarrett Urban sneaking the puck past Murak on assists from Josh Kerkvliet and Matt Silver. That set the stage for overtime -- and Fellman's heroics.
"It should be a big momentum swing," Fellman said of the win.
SoHi continues conference play against Kenai Central at 7:45 p.m. Friday at the sports center and at 5 p.m. Saturday at Homer.
Swanson said each conference game will be pivotal as the Stars prepare for the conference tournament, determining which teams advance to state. The coach expects more close games late in the season.
Each of SoHi's past six contests have been decided by one goal or ended in a tie.
"Every team is right there," Swanson said of the conference. "It's one of those deals where you come to the rink and you feel like you could win or lose every night depending on how everybody plays. The parity is incredible this year."
Palmer 2, Homer 0
A goal and an assist from Ivan Good and a shutout by Ashtan Good lifted the Moose to a Northstar Conference victory over the Mariners in Homer on Friday.
Nick Reeves scored in the first period on an assist from Good and Daulton Buness. Good scored in the second on an assist from Buness.
Ashtan Good made 14 saves for Palmer, while Alex Sanarov had 30 saves for the Mariners.
Wasilla 2, Homer 0
The Warriors scored twice in the third period to clinch a Northstar Conference victory on Saturday in Homer.
Wasilla outshot Homer 22-13 through the first two periods en route to a 35-16 advantage for the game. Yet, the game was scoreless until Chancie Jenson, on an assist from Michael Johnston, scored with 10:45 left in the third. Zach Korsmo, assisted by Mike Edwards, clinched the victory with a goal with 13 seconds left.
Rhys Jones had the shutout for Wasilla. Alex Sanarov kept Homer in the game with 33 saves.
Moose 2, Mariners 0
Palmer 1 1 0 --2
Homer 0 0 0 --0
First period -- 1. Palmer, Reeves (Buness, I. Good), 13:53. Penalties -- Homer 2 for 4:00.
Second period -- 2. Palmer, I. Good (Buness), 11:16. Penalties -- Palmer 1 for 2:00; Homer 1 for 2:00.
Third period -- none. Penalties -- Palmer 2 for 4:00; Homer 1 for 2:00.
Shots on goal -- Palmer 11-14-7--32; Homer 5-1-8--14.
Goalies -- Palmer, A. Good (14 shots, 14 saves); Homer, A. Sanarov (32 shots, 30 saves).
Stars 3, Knights 2 OT
Colony 1 1 0 0 --2
Soldotna 0 2 0 1 --3
First period -- 1. Colony, Belanger (unassisted), 10:08. Penalties -- Colony 5 for 16:00; Soldotna 4 for 11.
Second period -- 2. Soldotna, Waters (Fellman, Pearson), 4:02; 3. Colony, Belanger (Naylor), 11:16; 4. Soldotna, Urban ( Kerkvliet, Silver), 12:25. Penalties -- Colony none; Soldtona 2 for 4:00.
Third period -- Penalties -- Colony none; Soldotna 1 for 2:00.
Overtime -- 5. Soldotna, Fellman (unassisted), :59.
Shots on goal -- Colony 3-6-16-2--27; Soldotna 7-7-3-1--18.
Goalies -- Murak (18 shots, 15 saves); Pearson (27 shots, 25 saves)
Warriors 2, Mariners 0
Wasilla 0 0 2 --2
Homer 0 0 0 --0
First period -- none. Penalties -- Wasilla 3 for 6:00; Homer 1 for 2:00.
Second period -- none. Penalties -- Wasilla 3 for 6:00; Homer 3 for 6:00.
Third period -- 1. Wasilla, Hanson (Johnston), 4:15; 2. Wasilla, Korsmo (Edwards), 14:47. Penalties -- Wasilla 1 for 2:00; Homer 1 for 2:00.
Shots on goal -- Wasilla 10-12-13--35; Homer 10-3-3--16.
Goalies -- Wasilla, Jones (16 shots, 16 saves); Homer, A. Sanarov (35 shots, 33 saves).
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