Saturday, October 15, 2005

IceDiggers win home opener in OT

Zach Barron (left) knocked home his own rebound 2:17 into overtime to give the Alpena IceDiggers a 2-1 win over the Traverse City North Stars in Friday night’s home opener.

Barron skated the right-side board and fired the initial shot from the circle. Traverse City goalie Jeremy Kaleniecki made the initial save, but the rebound came right back to Barron allowing him to drive the net for the game winner. Jeff Miller and Drew Pierson drew assists on the play.

“It feels great,” Barron said. “We worked hard to get the game-winner. It was a total team effort.”

Alpena got on the board first when Justin Stadler got the puck from Matt Suggs and stuffed the puck home on a wrap-around from behind the net. The power-play goal came 13:56 into the game. Alpena played with the 1-0 lead until 4:37 of third when Travis Peath tied the game.

Acquired on Monday, goaltender Johnny Morrow came up big for Alpena. Morrow, who had practiced twice with the ‘Diggers, turned away 45 shots.

“Johnny Morrow was excellent tonight,” said Alpena coach-GM Kenny Miller. “He practiced with us for two days and the guys have confidence in him. He’s been what I expected.”

"We didn't even wake up until the third period," North Stars coach-GM Scott Gardiner said. "We've been off two weeks and it was their home opener, and they had more jump and just flat outplayed us for the first two and a half periods."

Keleniecki finished with 44 saves.

The teams meet again tonight in another NAHL North Division showdown at the Northern Lights Arena. Face-off is slated for 7 p.m.

"We just have to take the last 10 minutes of the game tonight and roll it into tomorrow," Gardiner added. "We have to come out and play like we're not going to wait around to get it going like we did tonight."

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