SJU Nets Thrilling Win in OT at Hockey Day MN
01/28/2023 | 19 o’clock
January 28 (Sat) / 7 p.m
By Frank Rajkowski, SJU Writer/Video Producer
WHITE BEAR TOWNSHIP, Minn. — For Jackson Sabo (Rosemount, Minn.), a sophomore at Saint John’s University, Friday night felt a bit like stepping back in time.
The Johnnies played Augsburg as part of Hockey Day in Minnesota outdoors under the lights of Polar Lakes Park in White Bear Township.
And it reminded Sabo of days gone by.
“That was so cool,” he said. “It was just like when I played hockey on the pond in my backyard. It’s such a great feeling. There is nothing like it.”
Especially when you deliver like Sabo did when it mattered most. It was his 2:16 goal in overtime that led SJU to a dramatic 5:4 victory over the Auggies in MIAC action.
“It’s cool, but it’s really a team win,” said Sabo, who drove in and slipped the puck past Augsburg goaltender Jack Robbel to score his third goal of the season, ending the 3-on-3 overtime that was played as a senior Teammate Nick Michel (Waconia, Minnesota) scored a 4-4 draw with 1:03 left in regulation.
“Any of our guys could have scored the last goal. I’m just grateful to be out here with this great group of players.”
That group improved to 7-3-1 in conference play and 11-7-2 overall with the win coming on a night that saw goals canceled by two Johnnies – one in the second and one in the third.
“Our boys did a great job fighting their way through this adversity,” said SJU coach Doug Schueller, a graduate of White Bear Lakes High School who was back in his homeland. “I was really proud of them. They didn’t let those (illegal) goals get close to them.
“They just kept fighting and got a great victory.”
Two players scored the most goals Friday – captain Auggie Moore (Edina, Minnesota) and Augsburg senior forward Gavin Holland. Moore scored twice in the first half – his first goal giving his team a 1-0 lead and his second making it 2-1 after Holland scored on the power play. But Holland struck again on the power play in the second half, earning the hat-trick with an equal goal early in the third period that put his team 3-2 ahead.
SJU forward Jack Johnson (Bemidji, Minnesota) scored to equalize 3-0, but a goal by Augsburg senior Erik Palmqvist at the 15:39 mark of the third period allowed his team to retake the lead.
That’s how it was until Michel showed up very late.
“That’s a big goal,” Schueller said. “We were convinced that we could score at any moment. But to achieve that was really nice.”
Then it was left to Sabo to finish things off.
“(Goalkeeper) Bailey (Huber) made some crazy saves just to give me this opportunity,” said Sabo. “He really was the MVP of this one.”
Huber (Mahtomedi, Minn.) finished with 29 saves, including four in overtime for the Johnnies, who host Augsburg to complete the home-and-home series at 7 p.m. Saturday at Herb Brooks National Hockey Center in St. Cloud.
Minnesota’s Hockey Day weekend, meanwhile, continues with three outdoor high school games televised Saturday morning and afternoon on Bally Sports North.
“That was a huge win for our program,” Schueller said. “We needed it. We don’t have many MIAC games left, so every game and every point is big.”