MORGANTOWN — Carter Kline took a pass behind the net early in the third period at Morgantown Ice Arena on Dec. 7 night. He skated toward the front of the net, bringing the puck left to right before putting it past opposing goalkeeper Gerald Furajter and into the upper corner of the net. The goal, Kline’s second of the evening, put the Mohawks up, 3-0, over Connellsville, Pa.
The Mohawks student section erupted in cheers, as the team celebrated the goal near the net. At the time, Kline never imagined his team would end up in its fourth overtime battle of the year, needing extra minutes to finish off the Falcons, 4-3
“Absolutely not,” said Kline, regarding the idea. “We kind of bent there at the end, but we came back and got it in overtime.”
After a scoreless 25 minutes to open, Morgantown first got on the board with 8:15 left in the second period, when Sam Snider connected with Luke Currence on a pass. Currence threaded the needle between the Connellsville defense and placed the puck in between Furajter’s legs to earn the Mohawks a 1-0 lead.
Morgantown continued to pile on, as Daniel Arthurs snatched the puck on the wing coming out a face-off. Arthurs drew Furajter to the left side of the net before dishing the puck to Kline in the center of the ice. He finished with a goal to give the Mohawks a 2-0 advantage which they took into the intermission.
After Kline tallied the third Mohawks goal, with 16:25 left in the game, the game appeared firmly under control for Morgantown. The Falcons weren’t ready to quit, though, and quickly responded. Steven Ross notched the first Connellsville goal just two minutes later. From there, the Morgantown defense fell apart, allowing two more goals on power plays, with the game-tying score coming from Falcon Alexander Gesk with 1:02 remaining in regulation.
“We just lost concentration and focus. We thought they were going to just lay down and quit, which is what we normally do,” Mohawks head coach Robert Rockis said. “We pretty much drag games out into the third period, and usually end up with a tie or in overtime. This team does not play well with a lead.”
The Mohawks kept their head in overtime, though, drawing a penalty on Ross that gave the Mohawks a 4-3 advantage on a two minute power play. Connellsville was unable to defend the attack outnumbered, and Kline connected with a pass to Arthurs, setting up the winning goal with 1:27 left in overtime.
“Those were my senior leaders coming through at the end, and just saying we weren’t going to lose another one,” Rockis said. “We’ve got some good leaders in (Sam) Snider, Quintin Smith, and (Carter) Kline.”
Rockis said that despite the third period slump, he was satisfied with his team’s performance on the evening.
“Overall, it was pretty good, except maybe the final five minutes of the third period,” Rockis said. “But I saw improvement. And that’s all I can ask for.”
The victory moves the Mohawks to 2-5-2 on the season. Morgantown will next take the ice Dec. 12, as they travel to the Iceoplex at Southpointe in Canonsburg, Pa., where they’ll battle Trinity (Washington, Pa). The game is scheduled for an 8:20 p.m. start.
“That next game should be easier than this one was, we’re playing a team that’s at the bottom of our league right now,” Rockis said. “Hopefully we come out with another ‘W,’ and head into Christmas break with some happiness and joy.”