MASON CITY — Zach Jimenez was the hero on Saturday for the Mohawk Hockey Club.
Jimenez scored with 1 minute, 17 seconds remaining in overtime on an assist from Nate Lassise as the Mohawks escaped with a 3-2 win over the Quad City Blues in Midwest High School Hockey League action at the North Iowa Ice Arena.
“I got a great pass from my buddy Nate, saw the open shot and took it,” Jimenez said. “It’s such a great feeling to score the game-winning goal in overtime.”
The victory helped the Mohawks snap a two-game losing streak.
“It’s definitely a big win for our program,” Mohawk Hockey Club co-coach Rich Gores said. “We’ve been in a little bit of a slump lately and being able to pull out a close game like this one, it certainly helps give the guys confidence.”
While Jimenez provided the game-winner, Derek Walker was solid in goal for the Mohawks as well.
For over 40 minutes, the 5-foot-7, 155-pound senior looked to be on his way to his first varsity shutout.
Instead, Walker settled for his third victory of the season, turning aside 27 shots.
“Derek made some big saves,” Gores said. “He really kept us in it, especially in the last period when they started putting a lot of pressure on him.”
Walker received offensive support in the opening period as Drake Hadacek started the scoring 6:08 into the game for the Mohawks (4-6-0-0) on assists from Jaxon Jones and Noah Stevenson.
Meanwhile, Adrian Debrah pushed the lead to 2-0 with 2:11 left in the period as the Mohawks were able to overcome 24 minutes worth of penalties.
“We took too many penalties early in the game,” Jimenez said. “We were fortunate to overcome those penalties and get the two goals.”
The Mohawk Hockey Club only had two penalty minutes despite playing aggressively in the second period as well, resulting in a Quad City player being checked into the Mohawks’ bench.
The Mohawks were held without a shot for the first 6:32 of the second period before peppering Quad City goaltender Zach Freiburger with 10 shots in the final 10:28 despite coming up empty.
While the Mohawks were unable to increase their lead, Blake Childers made things interesting as he cut into the lead with10:17 remaining in the third period before Andrew Kramer tied the game with 3:14 left with a power-play goal.
“We kind of got away from what we were doing early in the game,” Gores said. “Credit goes to Quad City, they didn’t allow us anything and they were able to crawl back into the game. We knew they would battle with us until the end.”
The Mohawks were able to shift the momentum back in their favor late in the third period and they started overtime with a power play.
While they were unable to score with the man advantage, Jimenez said it got the Mohawks back on track before he buried the game-winner during 4-on-4 action.
“I know it was tough on Derek giving up those goals late in the game but us getting a power play at the end of the third period and into overtime was huge,” Jimenez said. “We needed a spark and we were able to put the pressure on and eventually that hard work paid off.”