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OMG gets the last laugh and wins the YHH Squirtacular

By Tony Scott, 03/19/13, 6:00AM CDT


Rocco Marcacinni with a one timer to give his team the lead in the second period.

Entering the season as the number one team in the state, Osseo Maple Grove got off to a slow start in Forest Lake and was defeated by Blaine. Their team never really peaked all year.  They reached the finals in Eden Prairie, but lost to Rosemount.  They reached the Final Four in Fargo and lost to Minneapolis.  They won several games in district play in impressive fashion. Despite a lot of wins, you got the feeling that their coaches and players weren’t completely satisfied with their results.

Meanwhile their opponent, Rosemount had a magical season…they had an undefeated record playing in every top tournament they could enter including wins in Eden Prairie, Bloomington and Fargo.  They took on all challenges and conquered all. Their well balanced attack was fun to watch every time I saw them play. They have some superstars, but they also have a bunch of kids who stepped up all year.

The energy at Bloomington Ice Garden on Sunday was electric for the Championship game.  A huge contingent of Rosemount and OMG fans showed up and filled the player bench side of the rink, meanwhile hundreds more filled the opposite side of the rink.  A and B participants from the Squirtacular showed up to see these two teams play.

The Irish got the upper hand early when Rosemount phenom Luke Levandowski got a turnover in the OMG slot and fired a wicked wrist shot into the OMG net at 2:28 of the first period.  The teams traded body blows the rest of the period with both teams having some great chances, one in particular was at the very end of the first, with OMG pressuring the Rosemount net the buzzer sounded and an OMG player scored a half a second after the horn sounded.  Despite it not counting, The Crimson knew that they could hang in there with Rosemount heading into the next period.

Early in the second, OMG really started to click, putting constant pressure on the Rosemount wingers and defense in their own zone.  They began to get more and more chances until finally OMG’s hero du jour, JT House got a pass from Brock Faber and fired a laser into the upper corner to tie the score at 1.  A minute later, OMG went on the power play due to a Rosemount slashing penalty.  And, OMG converted when Rocco Marcacinni got a great pass from Brock Faber and scored on a one timer to to give the Crimson a 2-1 lead.  Two minutes later, trailing 2-1, Rosemount began to mount an attack of their own. This time it was Keaton Kranz who got a great look at the OMG goal and he rifled it in to the nylon for to tie the score at  2-2 to end the second period.  OMG slightly controlled the play getting a whopping 18 shots on goal in the second period (note: Rosemount only allowed Chaska Chan 15 in the whole semifinal game).

On the first shift of the third period, OMG got the party started when the Bitty Brothers (pint sized Justin Janicke and Kyle Kukkonen) got into the act…Kyle fed Justin from behind the net and JJ buried it to give The Crimson the lead just 23 seconds into the period.  Rosemount would try to answer, but on several occasions come up just short. Halfway through the game, with the game still very much in doubt, OMG got a break. A Rosemount defender was leading his team out of his zone and he got tangled with Referee Jarrod Hummel.  In an instant The Crimson countered and got the puck back into the Rosemount zone.  On that same possession, JT House converted on a loose puck and hoisted a wrist shot into the net to give his team the lead 4-2.

Interviewed after the game, Rosemount coach Troy Campbell said of the Referee mishap, “those things happen in hockey, a good team like OMG made the most of it.”

With six minutes to go, Rosemount knew they had it in them to tie the game.  They had the horses and the will to get it done.  Enter Kyle Heffron, The Moose.  He did his best to take over the game.  He began to force the issue by rushing the puck and playing a more offensive role.  Late in the game, with OMG shorhanded, Kyle made one of his patented rushes.  He beat everyone and got inside the hash mark and fired a Bantam level wrister past the OMG goalie to make it 4-3 with a minute and change to go.

Now OMG was in full “hang on” mode. Rosemount had some great chances to get it into overtime in the final minute, but they could not convert. With two seconds left Justin Janicke cleared the zone and it went into the Rosemount net for a final score of 5-3. The Crimson are the winners of the unofficial state tournament put on by YHH.  Congratulations to both teams for participating in one of the most exciting and well played Squirt games these eyes have ever seen.

Two great teams that ended their season with the claim as the best Squirt team in the state. 

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