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Coulee Region Chill scores 4-3 NAHL hockey win over Austin Bruins

By Joel Badzinski | LaCrosse Tribune | Saturday, November 13, 2010

ONALASKA — Coulee Region Chill coach Garrett Strot might have to rethink the Lucas Dillon-Scott Bell-Jake Useldinger line.

Put together three weeks ago for defense, the trio put away two key goals Friday night as the Chill clipped the Austin Bruins 4-3 in front of 628 at the OmniCenter.

Dillon scored both, converting perfect feeds from Bell and Useldinger, his second coming at 12:03 of the third period to put the Chill back ahead after Austin had scored three unanswered goals to tie it.

“My linemates were feeding me passes at the right times and in the right spots,” Dillon said. “I couldn’t ask for better passes. Coach relies on us as a defensive line and when we work hard good things happen offensively as well.’’

Chill fans were treated not only to the win, but also to Onalaska native Nathan Trannel’s first appearance in a home game after suffering a shoulder injury last month. There were also two fights, involving Coulee Region’s David Ripple vs. Matt Pilot and Berkley Scott vs. Nolan Kirley, that brought loud cheers.

The best part for Strot was the play of Dillon’s line.

“They played great tonight,” Strot said. “We work on that all the time in practice, going hard to the net.’’

The Chill (9-4-2) seemed to carry the momentum from their last game, a 1-0 win over Alexandria on Nov. 6, into Friday’s game. They built up the pressure on the Bruins’ defense until Zac Frischmon buried his team-leading 12th goal at 3:08 of the first on the power play.

Ripple set up the goal by forcing a turnover behind the net and sending the puck in front for Frischmon, who punched in his own rebound.

Six minutes later, Connor Gaarder one-timed a hard rebound off Matt Blomquist’s slapshot to make it 2-0.

Dillon’s line produced its first goal with persistent forechecking, a theme for the Chill all night. Bell got control of the puck at the right circle and slid it to Dillon in the slot, who shot through traffic for a 3-0 lead at 7:07.

With goaltender Paul Moberg (41 saves) controlling the defensive zone, Coulee Region nearly broke the game open.

But Austin, which came in having won three of its last four games, shocked the Chill with three goals in the first 10 minutes of the third period. James Dickinson got the rally going with two goals, one on the power play, and linemate Cody Hotchkin tied it on another power play.

The flurry broke Moberg’s shutout streak at 103:26.

Dillon and Useldinger halted Austin’s momentum by converting on a 2-on-1 break. Dillon got behind his defender and and redirected Useldinger’s pass under Keegan Asmundson.

Finally, the Chill had to survive 1:20 of a 6-on-4 advantage for the Bruins, who pulled Asmundson for an extra attacker just before Coulee Region committed another penalty.

“The guys did a good job of keeping things outside at the end,” Strot said, “and Moberg was making some saves on pucks he didn’t even see.’’