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Boys hockey: Two-OT thriller sends Tigers to 1AA title game

Farmington gets on the board with a first-period goal Saturday against Rochester John Marshall. The Tigers won their first two section games to advance to tonight’s finals.

Things didn’t look good for Farmington early on in Monday night’s Section 1AA semifinals. Its banner season and 17-game winning streak were in serious jeopardy, with 9-17 Lakeville South skating out to a 4-1 lead by the midpoint of the second period.

Then the Tigers started to click. They began to wear down the Cougars and scored three unanswered goals to tie the game by the end of regulation. The score stayed knotted at 4-4 through the first eight-minute overtime and the first 4:57 of the second extra session before Austin Martinsen went top shelf for the game-winner, advancing Farmington to its first section finals since 2000 with a 5-4 victory at the Rochester Recreation Center.

“He had some near misses earlier in the game, but there was no doubt on that one,” Farmington coach Keith Revels said. “South played their top line a lot early and we started to take it to them halfway through the second. Once again, our depth got us the upper hand late in the game.”

Each team put 10 shots on goal during South’s three-goal first period. The Tigers had a 37-16 advantage the rest of the way.

“Our defensive zone was pretty sketchy early on. We got caught mostly trying to do too much instead of defending from the inside and we got caught on the perimeter looking in,” Revels said.

Trailing 4-1, the Tigers got the game’s lone power-play goal from scoring leader Justin Novak at the 11:42 mark of the second (assists from Martinsen and Devin Bernu). Less than three minutes later, Jack Erickson scored unassisted to put the visitors back within one.

Tanner Grubb finally drew the score even with his second goal of the game at the 11:48 mark of the third. Novak and Erik Holmstrom assisted.

South started the first overtime with a man advantage, but managed just two shots on goal in the eight-minute period. The Tigers came up empty on all nine of their shots in the first overtime and their first for in the second overtime before Martinsen’s goal.

Goaltender Gage Overby finished with 22 saves and kept the Cougars out of the net over the final 40-plus minutes.

The Tigers’ 18th straight win advances them to face second-ranked Lakeville North in tonight’s Section 1AA finals in Rochester. The Panthers (22-4-1) won the South Suburban Conference and eliminated Farmington last year on their way to the state tournament.

“North has depth like us and have played top-level teams all year long,” Revels said. “After watching us over the last 18 games, I would not count us out. This team finds a way to win and has a ton of heart. We have to shore up the defensive zone and convert chances more efficiently offensively.”

The Tigers opened section play with a 10-2 rout of Rochester John Marshall Saturday at Schmitz-Maki Arena. The game was postponed two days in a row due to last week’s winter storm.

“I think the delays just strengthened their resolve to make a statement in the opening round,” Revels said. “We wore them down with our depth. Relentless is the best description I can give you.”

The Tigers didn’t score until Erickson’s tally 16 minutes into the first period. They then poured it on with five goals in the second and four more in the third.

John Siebenaler led the way with a hat trick and an assist. Martinsen had a pair of goals and three assists and Novak scored one goal and dished out three assists. Landon Nielsen, Grady Hauswirth and Chris Fitzgibbons also provided goals.

Nick Schoening stopped 12 John Marshall shots.