The Kalamazoo Eagles won the 15th annual Rivalry Cup game 4-3 in overtime Wednesday against the Blades of Southwest Michigan. A shorthanded breakaway goal by Gull Lake’s Trent Stoner gave the Eagles their first Rivalry Cup since their 2018 OT victory.
Listen to the game winning goal:
The Blades had to rally to force overtime, trailing almost the entire game. Comstock sophomore Owen Drake tied the game at 3-3 on a powerplay goal with only 3.1 seconds remaining in regulation.
Listen to the game tying goal:
It was a bizarre game which seemed destined for high scoring initially. The Eagles jumped out to a 2-0 lead only 2:28 into the match with both goals setup by blue line shots from Paw Paw’s Tyler Wressel. Harper Creek’s Adam Ratliff tipped the first for a powerplay goal, followed by an Alex Dorrance even-strength deflection only 27 seconds later.
59 seconds after Dorrance’s goal, the Blades got on the board during a four-on-three powerplay thanks to Drake, assisted by Schoolcraft’s Parker Lawrence and White Pigeon’s Blaine Shafer. The score stayed at 2-1 until midway through the third period as neither team could establish continuity due to repeated penalties against both sides.
The Blades tied the game at 2-2 with 10:02 left in the third period on a powerplay goal from senior Chris Bigelow, assisted by Drake and Lawrence. The Eagles reclaimed the lead on their own powerplay strike by Pennfield’s Connor Greger, assisted by Stoner and Jimmy Lindstrom, for a 3-2 lead with 3:10 left.
In the final moments of regulation during a four-on-three powerplay, the Blades were able to tie the game as Drake skated to the faceoff circle and rocketed a shot over the glove of goaltender Huston Born. With 3.1 seconds to go, the game was tied at 3-3 thanks to the third Blades powerplay goal of the night.
Momentum early in OT seemed to favor the Blades, as they picked up another powerplay chance quickly in overtime. However, Ratliff would intercept a Blade pass and bat the puck to Stoner, who charged down the ice and scored the game-winner on a shorthanded breakaway with 5:01 on the clock.
Unofficially, Plainwell’s Born had 24 saves for the Eagles with Vicksburg’s Jack Tomer stopping 20 for the Blades.
The Eagles improve to 8-4 with the victory and travel north to Griff’s Ice House Saturday night against Rockford. The Blades fall to 12-14 with the defeat and have four games ahead between Friday and Sunday at various suburban arenas north of Indianapolis.