2/10/2014 10:19:00 AM Sundogs 4, Brampton 3, OT Morgan's OT goal caps wild rally for Sundogs Arizona now 12-1-2 in last 15 games
The Sundogsí Jason Morgan (17) battles for the puck with Bramptonís Brett Smith (41) and Tyler Butler (23) Saturday night at Timís Toyota Center in Prescott Valley.
Photo courtesy Matt Hinshaw/The Daily Courier
Arizona finished its six-game home stand with an impressive 5-1-0 record, which included a sweep of the Rapid City Rush.
The Sundogs evened their season record against Brampton at 3-3-0.
The Sundogs are 12-1-2 in their past 15 games. In the season's first 29 games, they had only 10 wins.
Wearing replica sweaters of the 1980 U.S.A. Olympic hockey team that won gold, the Arizona Sundogs seemed to channel that squad's "Miracle on Ice" energy Saturday night at Tim's Toyota Center.
Trailing the Brampton Beast 3-1 with 5 minutes left in regulation, the Sundogs scored twice and later won 4-3 on captain Jason Morgan's power-play goal, his second of the evening, with 25 seconds to go in overtime.
Arizona went 3-for-5 on the man advantage in this game, which made the difference. The Beast entered the game ranked first in the CHL in the penalty kill.
With the victory, Arizona remained in seventh place in the Central Hockey League (CHL) but continues to impress as it makes a late-season playoff push.
Nevertheless, Sundogs coach Kevin Colley called out the leadership on his team in between the first and second periods, which seemed to light a fire.
"My message was, 'If they want it, we'll get it,' " Colley said. "I wasn't happy with the first 40 minutes. If they have that will to win and they believe in one another and play the right way, I knew they were going to give ourselves a chance."
Morgan added, "Executing all those little things and our work ethic are what's got us to this point. And we didn't have that (early on). I think maybe we thought it'd be easy after our (3-2) win last night. We just pulled together as a group and everyone chipped in."
Despite a well-played game, the Sundogs and the Beast of Brampton, Ontario, Canada, made it clear that they don't like each other much.
A night after the teams combined for 20 infractions and 68 penalty minutes, they went back at it Saturday, racking up 21 infractions and 63 penalty minutes.
For nearly the entire game, the Beast was in control.
Scott Howes scored two goals, both on the power play in the first and second periods, respectively, and Jason Pitton added a goal in the third to hand Brampton a 3-1 lead.
"When they got that third one there, I wasn't too happy with the goal myself," Sundogs goalie Andrew Engelage said. "I kind of thought maybe I had killed our momentum that we had."
But the Sundogs roared back, pulling within one of a tie on Garrett Clarke's power-play goal with 5:14 left in regulation. Kevin Baker followed about a minute later to tie it at 3-3 and eventually send it to OT.
"We kept backing up, and letting them get in the zone too much," Brampton coach Mark DeSantis said. "They were coming on pretty strong, and we didn't stick to our game plan going forward at these guys."
In the extra session, it appeared that another OT would have to be played until the officials whistled Pitton for high sticking with 37 seconds to go. Twelve seconds later, Morgan scored on the power play and the players celebrated on the ice as the crowd roared.
With the win, the Sundogs' record improved to 22-19-3, while Brampton dropped to 23-21-3.
Perhaps just as impressive as the OT win, Arizona played without three of its leading scorers in Paul McIlveen, Brandon Coccimiglio and Jordan Clendenning, who are on injured reserve.
The Sundogs competed until the bitter end Saturday and took two out of three from the Beast in this series.
The Sundogs hope to ride their wave of emotion when they return to the ice at 6:05 p.m. Thursday at the second-place Allen Americans.