Tartan tops Rochester Century on short-handed goal

The Tartan Titans hosted Rochester Century in a boys hockey contest at Tartan Arena Dec. 1.

The Big Nine Conference Panthers did everything they could to enrich the long trip back to Rochester, but a short-handed goal by sophomore forward Ryan Furne, with just under three minutes remaining, was the difference in a 5-4 Tartan victory.

The goal by Furne, combined with the 32 saves by Tartan net keeper Cary Wood, was enough to provide the margin needed to win the game by the out-played Tartan six.

“It was a ‘highlight film’ goal,” said veteran public address announcer Joe Gerard, describing the goal by Furne.

With the Titans a man short, the feisty forward, battled for the puck at mid ice. He was checked away as he deked a defenseman. He headed to the blue line and met a second defender. Two strides toward the goal, Furne was pulled down and a penalty was assessed to the Panthers defender.

Even as he was going down, Furne kept his concentration on the puck. Sliding in on goal, Furne swiped at the biscuit. His shot eluded the net-minder, slid across the line and put the Titans on top to stay, 5-4.

The Tartan partisan crowd went wild as the game-winner was recorded on scoreboard.

The Panthers lost the game, but they owned the territorial rights to the game as they out-shot the Titans by a near two-to-one margin, 36-17.

It was a seesaw affair with first one side, then the other gaining the advantage.

In all the Titans got scoring from five separate players.

“We were able to convert on our chances. These kids are a group who don’t quit,” Tartan coach John Humphrey said.

Chad Tolzman took a feed from Mike Kurz and converted at 2:10 of the initial period to put the Titans on the board 1-0.

The Panthers retaliated six minutes later when Nick Reveland found pay dirt behind Wood, after an assist from Adam Gruver, at 8:17.

Rochester moved ahead just before the first 17 minutes had expired when a pass from Colin Briscoe found the stick of Joe Knoepke, who found the back twines at 15:16.

Rochester took a 2-1 lead into the locker room for the first intermission.

The Rochester edge vanished at 6:10 of the second canto when a pass from Matt Charpentier hit Marco McDonough who saw his bullet whiz into the upper reaches and knot the count at two.

Tartan regained the lead on a power play opportunity when assists from McDonough and Tim Anderson found Garret Larson open in the high slot. His shot through traffic slipped into the goal at 11:46 to give Tartan the 3-2 lead they would carry into the second intermission.

The Panthers sprang early in the third when Briscoe fed Ryan Knutson, who slipped a pass across to Knoepke. The Rochester junior center’s aim was true as he knotted the count once more, this time at three, just 53 seconds into the third stanza.

Tartan responded when Marc Wilson, after getting a pass from Furne, sent a bullet to the back twines at 4:32 that gave the Titans a 4-3 leeway.

The action was fast and furious and Rochester moved into the Tartan zone and didn’t leave until they had tied the count one more time.

A pass from Knutson hit Briscoe, who made good at 4:45. Just 13 seconds following the last Tartan lead, Rochester had again tied the game 4-4.

With the panthers blistering the Tartan net (they had 12 third period shots-on-goal) and Tartan beginning to stagger, the Titans were dealt another blow when a tripping penalty was assessed.

The Titans were fending off the Panthers when Furne jumped on an errant pass and headed up ice. The 10th grade speedster out-raced the defenders and went in on goal. His shot through the 5-hole at 14:18 proved to be the game winner as Wood and the Titans hung on to gain the victory.

Tartan will next see action Dec. 10 when they open up defense of their Classic Suburban Conference title against Simley in a 7:30 p.m. scheduled face off at Tartan Arena.

The Titans travel to Richfield for a Dec. 15 game, before returning to Titanville to face Hill-Murray at 7:30 p.m. on Dec. 17.

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