By the Tribune staff | LaCrosse Tribune | Sunday, April 24, 2011
- BISMARCK, N.D. – Erik Drapluk scored three goals in 55 games of the regular season.
On Saturday, he scored his third goal of the playoffs, and this one saved the Coulee Region Chill’s season.
Drapluk scored 6 minutes, 15 seconds into overtime to give the Chill a 4-3 victory over Bismarck and force a Game 5 in the NAHL Central Division finals.
“Jimmy Hughes got a shot off, it wasn’t hard, but it came off the pad of the goalie, and Erik stepped in and just drilled one in on the far side,” Chill coach Garrett Strot said.
The Chill, who play Bismarck at 7 p.m. Monday at the OmniCenter, looked to have things in control early when Zac Frischmon and Connor Gaarder scored minutes into the second period.
Bismarck, however, came back with three consecutive goals that could have taken the life out of the Chill.
“Our guys just stayed calm,” Strot said.
While Drapluk won the game, Frischmon’s goal 4:14 into the third period may have been just as big.
“If we don’t score that early, we start taking unnecessary chances, which leads to odd-man rushes,” Strot said. “That was big to get one early and it pumped us up.”
Frischmon’s goal, which was assisted by Gaarder, came on a power play. It was the Chill’s first power-play goal of the series (1-for-11).
Though Bismarck did score three consecutive goals, Strot said his team wasn’t playing complacent with a two-goal lead.
“We were playing well, but they just had some good goals,” Strot said. “Two were chips and another was off a scramble.”
Scott Bell and Gaarder assisted Frischmon 1:18 into the second period to start the scoring and Frischmon, along with Lucas Dillon, returned the favor as Gaarder put the Chill up 2-0 just about a minute and a half later.
Bismarck scored its three goals within eight minutes of each other after that, including the tying and go-ahead goals within a minute of each other toward the end of the second period.
Paul Moberg saved 44 in the win, while Bismarck’s Ryan Faragher had 27 saves.