The Royals had to play double overtime for the first time this season. In the end, the No. 1 team in section 8-2A ended Rogers’ season the first shift of overtime.
Rogers (14-6-0) lost 4-3 to Roseau (14-6-0) in double overtime on Saturday, March 20, at Roseau Memorial Arena in Roseau.
Royals head coach Dave Brown said Saturday’s game was an amazing experience and atmosphere for Rogers.
“Unfortunately, it didn’t end the way we hoped it would, but we gave it our best effort,” Brown said.
Rams senior forward Paul Huglen opened the scoring 1:24 into the game, beating Royals sophomore goaltender Cade Chapman. It was Huglen’s 15th goal of the season. Huglen scored again at 3:38 of the first period, doubling Roseau’s lead to 2-0.
Rogers senior forward Tanner Weis scored at 6:59 of the first period to cut the Royals’ lead to 2-1 when he scored on the power play. It was Weis’ 15th goal of the season and his second power-play goal of the season. Rogers tied the game at 16:47 of the first when sophomore defender Chase Cheslock scored his eighth goal of the season. The score was 2-2 at first intermission.
The Rams regained the lead when Huglen scored at 6:05 of the second period on the power play, completing his hat trick. It was his 17th goal of the season. The Royals answered less than three minutes later when junior defender Miken Miller scored his ninth goal of the season at 8:18 of the second.
Neither team could score in the third, so Rogers wound up playing its second overtime game of the season and first since Feb. 4, when the Royals defeated Osseo 4-3 in overtime at Rogers Activity Center. Rogers and Roseau combined for 11 shots on-goal in the first overtime period. The Rams outshot the Royals 7-4, but neither team could find the back of the net, so the game went to double overtime. It was Rogers’ first double-overtime playoff game in six years. The Royals’ last double overtime playoff game was in February 2015, when the Royals lost 3-2 to Anoka in the Section 5-2A quarterfinal at Anoka Ice Arena.
Senior forward Max Strand scored the game winner 35 seconds into the second overtime to end Rogers’ season. It was Strand’s 14th goal of the season.
Brown said he thought that Rogers played well in the third period and told them to carry that momentum into the first overtime. He said senior defender and co-captain A.J. Lomen could have made a difference in the second overtime. However, Lomen missed the second overtime because his skate broke with 30 seconds left in the intermission and had to be repaired.
“We told them you don’t know how long it’s going to go and that every shift matters,” Brown said. “Their first line is going to be well-rested for that first shift in overtime, which they were and they came out and capitalized on a grade-A [chance] with a four-man rush. When that happens, you don’t know what to do. [It’s] too bad that Lomen was in the locker room when it happened because he’s our senior stud. He’s our anchor. He’s our shutdown senior captain defenseman. The guys were like, ‘Coach! Coach! Coach! A.J.’s skate’s broken. He’s not coming out.’ He was on his knees in the locker room when he found out that the game was over.”
Brown said he told the Royals that the seniors took the program in the right direction after an eventful 2020-21 season.
“They should be proud of the way they fought through a unique season with a ton of adversity and that I was proud of them for the way they carried themselves and the way they came to work every day for the R.”
Offensive Player of the Game: Huglen’s hat trick was his second of the season and the third of his career. Brown said great teams have good depth.
“Seniors play big in big games,” he said. “He had a night to remember.”
Defensive Player of the Game: Roseau senior goaltender Andrew Tuttle made 25 saves on 28 shots for his 13th win of the season.
What’s Next: Rogers’ 2020-21 season is over. The team improved its record from 2019-20 by two wins and had six fewer losses. The Royals finished 2019-20 with a record of 12-12-2. Brown’s record in two seasons as the Royals’ head coach is 26-18-2.
Roseau was scheduled to face Moorhead in the Section 5-2A semifinal on Thursday, March 25, at 6 p.m. at Roseau Memorial Arena.
Brown said his goals for next season are much bigger than reaching the Section 5-3A semifinal and that 2021-22 will be a season to remember.
“It [2020-21] shows that there’s clearly progress being made,” Brown said. “Sometimes, it doesn’t happen overnight. Both senior classes the last two years have given it everything they have. The program will be rewarded down the road when so many people have chipped in along the way to get them where they want to go.”