ROMEOVILLE, ILL. — When North Iowa needed a hero, Nick Klishko stepped up.
After allowing two third-period goals by Binghamton to force overtime in Thursday’s second game of the Silver Cup tournament, Klishko’s game-winner in overtime sent the Bulls past the Junior Senators 3-2. The win kept the Bulls, who lost their opener on Wednesday night, alive in pool play.
“I just thought we were ready to go tonight,” North Iowa coach Todd Sanden said. “Our pace was good and we just played well.”
Sean Mallonee gave the Bulls just the start they needed with a goal, assisted by Klishko, 3 minutes, 29 seconds into the first period as North Iowa would work its way to a 1-0 lead after a period.
Mallonee lit the lamp again in the second period to put the Bulls up 2-0 at the 9:46 mark, and they would head to the third with that lead.
With their backs against the wall, the Junior Senators, who came in with a win already to its credit in the tournament, got just enough to answer the call in the third to force overtime.
Connor Landrigan scored at the 12:59 mark in the third and then tallied his second of the period with 2:32 to play to tie the game.
North Iowa wouldn’t have to wait long for its game-winner.
Klishko knocked in a puck off a rebound on a shot by Mallonee 49 seconds into the overtime period to send the Bulls players into a frenzy and keep their hopes at repeating as Silver Cup champions alive.
Mallonee finished the game with two goals and an assist.
“I put a little pressure on Mallonee before the game that we needed him to start scoring and he stepped up tonight,” Sanden said.
Sanden also commended goalie Drew Scites on a good job in net for the Bulls. Scites made some big saves early in the game to preserve the Bulls’ lead and finished the game with 27 saves on 29 shots.
Even with the win, the road to the semifinals is by no means easy. In fact, they’ll need a little help to do it. The overtime win gave the Bulls two points in the standings while the Junior Senators earned one.
Through two games, Yellowstone leads the pool with six points, Binghamton has four, North Iowa two and the Bulls opponent today, Long Beach, has 0.
North Iowa needs a win in regulation and a Binghamton loss in regulation to guarantee its spot in the semifinals.
“Our philosophy is one more day,” Sanden said. “We get one more day of meaningful hockey and hopefully we take care of what we need to take care of.”