By Joel Badzinski | LaCrosse Tribune | Saturday, October 8, 2011
ONALASKA – Aaron Davis had an unwelcome thought when the Coulee Region Chill took a one-goal lead into the final minute of the third period Friday.
Davis flashed back to the first round of the 2011 playoffs and late goals by Owatonna that sent two games into overtime.
Not this time. Davis got help from blocked shots by Andrew Pitts and Ben Jaremko as the clock wound down and the Chill beat Aberdeen 3-1 in their home opener at the OmniCenter.
"I love guys blocking shots," Davis said. "It's one less time I have to drop down and get back up."
For Davis (33 saves) and the Chill, the low-scoring game was a relief after they allowed 23 goals in four previous games.
"Everybody had been pretty shaky the past couple of weekends," Davis said. "Who knows why. We knew we had to put it together for this weekend, especially for the home opener. You have to bring energy for that."
Chill coach Garrett Strot said earlier in the week that he was disappointed in his team's high goals-against and shots-against the past two weekends.
So even though Friday's win wasn't a thing of beauty, it was a step forward for the Chill, who outshot an opponent for just the second time in nine games this season.
"One thing I liked was that our guys were responsible with the puck and didn't give up as many chances," Strot said.
Aberdeen took a 1-0 lead at 15:46 of the first period. Davis made a nice point-blank stop on Bob Bruski, but eight seconds later Mack Ohnsted scored from a bad angle in the right circle.
Before the Wings had a chance to settle down, Chill defenseman Matt Blomquist joined the attack and beat Frederick Leisner (34 saves) for his third goal of the season.
"Blommer getting that one was huge," Davis said.
Davis felt even better after a scoreless second period. He said the second has been bad for the Chill this season, and he let the team know.
"I kind of barked at the guys between the first and second periods)," Davis said. "I had to let them know not to come out flat-footed again."
Chill forward Pavel Rott made it 2-1 midway through the third period, getting a pass from Mac Jansen (two assists) just inside the blue line and wristing a shot past Leisner.
Coulee Region locked down the win when Ben Jaremko blocked a shot off his body, pulled in the puck and scored an empty-netter with 24 seconds left in the third.
"We played very good all three periods," Rott said. "This was a big win for us."
WARD OUT: Aberdeen's leading scorer, forward Cory Ward (11 points) is out for the series with a shoulder injury, Wings coach Pete Sauer said.