MASON CITY — The Mohawk Hockey Club came into Saturday’s game against Omaha, the league’s second-best team, with many questions.
The team had fought off a round of sickness in the week leading up to the game and they weren’t sure how it would affect them. Add that to a stretch in which the Mohawks were 1-5 and they had no idea what to expect.
But even through it all, the Mohawks still found a way to score a signature win over Omaha (14-3-1-0) as Zach Jimenez scored with 2 minutes, 5 seconds remaining to send the Mohawks (7-9-0-2) to a 5-4 win.
“It’s huge because we were in a bit of a slump,” Jimenez said. “It’s great to get a big win in front of our crowd and it’s huge to beat a top-ranked team.”
As opportunities on offense were few and far between for the Mohawks, their defense and goalie Derek Walker were again up to the challenge, turning away Omaha every chance they got. When the Mohawks did get their chance, they capitalized.
After playing to a 1-1 tie through one period, Jimenez gave the Mohawks their first lead 10:20 into the second with a power-play goal off an assist from J.J. Hahn to put them up 2-1 heading to the final period.
Adrian Debrah gave the Mohawks a little insurance 25 seconds into the third before Omaha brought the score back within one at 3-2 when Dane Hickey scored at the 4:17 mark.
The Mohawk Hockey Club had an answer of its own nearly a minute and a half later as Drake Hadecek scored from the right faceoff dot to put the Mohawks back up two goals.
Omaha was able to respond to stay within a goal with an Austin Eastep goal 10:29 into the third and tied the game with 3:10 remaining on a goal by Evan Roth.
That’s when Jimenez and the Mohawks rose to the call.
With less than 2:30 to play, Jimenez got the puck all alone out in front of the Omaha defense and had a clear path to the goal. With everything on the line, there was no way he was missing this one.
“We just didn’t give up all night,” Jimenez said. “Obviously it’s tough when you give up a lead but we fought through it and we got some big saves from our goalie, Derek, and we got the goal at the end.”
Walker finished the night with 40 saves on 44 shots.
Omaha and the Mohawks meet up again Sunday at 10 a.m.
“I’m sure they’re going to come back tomorrow and be really aggressive but this is a big win for us, especially the way we were fighting the illnesses,” Mohawk Hockey Club co-coach John Lloyd said. “In the long run it’s going to help us quite a bit.”