Eli Reimer’s goal at 5:34 of overtime on Tuesday gave Century a 4-3 win over Bismarck High and assured the Patriots of the second seed in the upcoming West Region tournament.
Reimer turned and shot in a rebound from a sharp angle to the right side of the net, giving the Patriots a sweep of the season series against the rival Demons. Connor Hanson, who was presented the Ulness Award for the senior player showing sportsmanship and skill, assisted on the game-winner and one in the third that had given Century a 3-1 lead.
“The overall hype of the game makes it like a WDA or state game,” Reimer said. “They came at us way stronger than they did last time.”
This one was nothing like the first meeting between the rivals in January. That game featured five goals -- three by Century -- in the first period and five more by Century in the second for an 8-4 win.
The story of the first period were the goalies. Even though the teams managed just a combined 15 shots on goal, Century’s Wyatt Stevahn and Bismarck’s Quinn Ackerman made a series of nice saves to keep the game scoreless after one period. The Demons put nine shots on Stevahn and the Patriots fired six shots at Ackerman.
Bismarck’s Joey Heinert actually got a shot past Stevahn but it banged off the pipe. Earlier in the period, Heinert skated alone down the slot and fired a wrister that Stevahn gloved.
Bismarck took advantage of a Century penalty, breaking the scoreless tie at 4:19 of the second period. Hunter Acker found a loose puck in front of Stevahn and stuffed it in for 1-0 lead.
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Century’s Colton Schulte missed a wide-open net at 8:55 but at 9:43, Austin Wald spotted up in front of the net on a power play, and left unchecked, one-timed a pass from Schulte past Ackerman.
Four minutes later Century’s Alex Samardzic pounced on a rebound out front -- again unchecked -- to give the Patriots a 2-1 lead.
Schulte got another chance in the third period and this time he didn’t miss. With a mass of bodies between he and Ackerman, Schulte shot high at 7:18 to make it 3-1.
The cushion lasted all of 18 seconds before Bismarck’s Remington Richardson scored on the Demons’ next rush up ice.
At 11:50, Mark Horner scored on the power play to complete the comeback and Ackerman stood tall down the stretch to keep the game tied. He made a stop from in close with 1:30 to play and stopped a blast by Cullen Curl as time ran out, sending the game to overtime.
Ackerman made two big stops at 5:25 of the extra session, but at 5:34, Hanson put a shot on goal that was directed to the side where Reimer was waiting to turn and shoot in one motion.
“It was a turnover from one of the BHS players. Hanson took it and I drove with him,” Reimer said. “He got a shot on net and there was a rebound and I just chopped it over the goalie’s shoulder.”
Reimer said a change in strategy changed momentum.
“We went from four lines to two and just kept rolling that and threw in a third line every once in a while,” Reimer said. “That got the momentum to us. We were on the ice a lot more and pushed it to them at the end.”