Rivals since their inception, the Minnesota Blue Ox and the Minnesota Moose have had some tightly contested games. This year has been no different with the two teams battling in Coon Rapids a week ago and the Moose needed an epic comeback to get a 6-5 victory. So for the first time this season, the Moose would welcome the Blue Ox into Blaine and Fogerty Arena to put in yet another chapter into their interesting history.
It was a Saturday night spectacular when the first-place Moose welcomed in the 1-2-1 Minnesota Blue Ox. Things started well for the Moose when Eli Kopish knocked in a rebound just seven minutes into the contest past starting Blue Ox goalie Jasper Leppanen, who was making just his second start of the year. The Moose doubled their lead when Alex Church put in his first goal of the young season. Both teams had multiple chances at power plays, but it would prove to be a struggle all night for either team to score on the man advantage.
What looked like a Moose team in control from the first period, it was the Blue Ox who took the momentum in the second period. Things changed dramatically when Oliver De Croock was taken down while trying to score on a short handed opportunity for the Blue Ox. A penalty shot was awarded and De Croock made good on the chance, slipping it through the five hole of starting Moose goalie, Maxi Hasselbacher. Nick Spolec would tie the game late in the period when the Blue Ox just got done killing a penalty, Spolec would exit the box at the perfect time and proceeded to score when the puck came right to him.
The third period was intense as both teams would get goals and of course plenty of penalties. The Moose got an early period goal from Cody Carlson to give them the lead again, but spent the rest of the period on the penalty kill. The Blue Ox would get the only power play goal from either team in this game with just over five minutes left in the period from Jacob Langheinrich. That goal would tie it up again and force an overtime.
In the five minute three on three overtime period, the Moose wasted little time in ending the game when Casey Hormann would beat Leppanen and send the Blue Ox home with their third loss of the season.
Leppanen made 34 saves in the loss while Maxi Hasselbacher posted 31 saves in a great battle of goalies. Chalk up another epic game in the short history of this rivalry.
The Moose are back in action on Saturday, October 19th when they travel to Owatonna to take on the Steele County Blades. They are back home to host the first showcase of the season. The showcase will be four days long from October 24th to October 27th. Roll Moose!