Owatonna ties down Packers, 3-3

Published 12:00 am Saturday, January 25, 2003

The first blemish for the Austin boys' hockey team's Big Nine Conference record could have been a lot bigger, and for two-and-a-half periods it was.

The Packers trailed host Owatonna 3-0 until the last five minutes of the second period, where Austin scored three times and skated away with a tie Thursday night. The tie was Austin's first non-victory in 10 Big Nine games.

"We came back after being down 3-0 and played really well to tie it up," said AHS coach Troy Holtz. "In overtime Cole Hughes hit a pipe right away on a two-on-one with Eric Hansen, so we came very close.

Email newsletter signup

"I was real proud of the way the guys came back. Owatonna is playing as well as anybody in the Big Nine Conference."

Owatonna (8-6-1, 6-4-1) moved ahead of John Marshall for third place in the Big Nine standings. Austin (12-3-1, 9-0-1) remained seven points ahead of second-placed Rochester Century.

"They're going to be a tough team to take," Holtz said of Owatonna. "I look forward to seeing them again in the playoffs sometime, and I think we'll be ready for it."

Owatonna is a Section 1 foe for the Packers, who scored all three of their goals late in the second period. The host Huskies led 1-0 through the first period and 3-0 just four minutes into the second after getting their second short-handed goal of the game.

Packer goalie Jack Lynch stopped the rest of the shots for 30 saves and Austin's first tie of the season. Lincoln Nguyen made 26 stops for the Huskies, who got back at the Packers for a 3-1 defeat in their first meeting Dec. 12 at Riverside Arena.

Brad Wiechmann, Quinn Ellingson and Hansen all scored goals for Austin. Wiechmann scored his team-leading 20th goal to get Austin going at 10:35, assisted by Hansen, and Ellingson scored an unassisted power-play goal at 12:41.

Hansen's 16th tally of the year tied the score, assisted by Wiechmann and Ellingson, at 13:50. The final 16:10 of regulation and five minutes of overtime did not see a goal scored.

"It was a real slugfest," Holtz said.

Austin was whistled for seven penalties to Owatonna's nine. James Gaulrapp scored twice for Owatonna, and Joel Gaulrapp tallied two assists.

The Packers play Tuesday at Winona at 7:30 p.m. at Bud King Ice Arena.