It wasn't easy, but the Pine City Dragons were able to claim their 7th straight victory on Tuesday night defeating the North Shore Storm 3-1 in Two Harbors.
Pine City struggled out of the gate against a tough North Shore team and the Storm struck first in the first period on a rebound chance by Caden Costley. Pine City found an answer not too long afterward but their goal was waived off due to high sticking. The Dragons put some offensive zone pressure on late in the first period but weren't able to get past the Storm's star goalie Connor Sullivan.
The second period for the Dragons was much of the same with Pine City controlling play for a majority of the 17 minutes and seeing a lot of really good scoring chances, but they just were not able to get one by and they headed into the final period trailing 1-0 with fear of their winning streak coming to a close.
As the third period started, things felt like Pine City was going to get that goal to even things up but you were just waiting to see who was going to step up and beat Sullivan. In years past, the Dragons would have had to look towards their top line goal scorers to get this done, but this year's Dragons team has shown a lot more scoring depth. It only took about two minutes into the third period to break the tie when Jared Carpenter stepped up and finished for Pine City evening the game up at one goal each. That goal sparked a flurry of shots for the Dragons and they continue to dominate play and launched shot after shot towards the Storm net seeking out the game winner. About three minutes after Carpenter's goal Peyton Smetana found the back of the net giving the Dragons a 2-1 lead. He wouldn't stop there as Smetana's goal gave him an extra jump in his skates and he finished the first period strong, flying all over the ice. Less than two minutes after scoring the first one, Smetana added an insurance goal to the Dragons easing everyone's minds and allowing everyone to breathe a little bit with a two goal lead late in the third. Things would get a little dicey late in the third period as the Dragons saw back-to-back penalties give the Storm about one minute and 45 seconds of a 5 on 3 advantage. Alex Laven stepped up and made a few nice saves and the defensive played well in front of him to close out the victory.
After the game, head coach Grant Nicoll told WCMP, "We talked about Saturday (against Simley) being a character game. And in between the second and third we told the guys 'not everything all year is going to be duckies and bunnies, you know?'... you gotta fight through and you gotta find a way... you gotta find a way to battle through and change it. And they did a good job."
PC 0 0 3 = 3
NS 1 0 0 = 1
Pine City is now 8-2 on the season after winning seven in a row. The Dragons get a little bit of a break now as they are off until they play in their tournament in Blaine on December 26th.