A relieved Casey Sauve of Forest Lake was exhausted. An exhausted Lleyton Roed of White Bear Lake was relieved. Fans for both sides were left wholly unsatisfied.
“That was a crazy one,” Sauve said, summing up Tuesday night’s 0-0 tie between Forest Lake (8-3-2) and White Bear Lake (10-2-1) at the TCO Sports Garden in Vadnais Heights in all of five words.
Sauve was efficient with his movements on the ice as he was with his words off it. Sauve saw the puck, Sauve stopped the puck. Sometimes he mixed it up and deflected shots out of play or into the corners. Rebounds? He offered none to speak of.
“Start to finish, he controlled the crease,” Forest Lake coach Jon Loo said about Sauve, a senior who finished with 25 saves. “You talk about no second chances, there were a couple of flurries there toward the end, where pucks were slipping around a little bit. But by and large he owned the crease all night.”
All of the same accolades could be heaped on White Bear Lake goaltender Jackson Kohnen who played pretty much the same as Sauve, which is to say flawlessly. Kohnen, a junior, made 26 saves and, like Sauve, limited second-chance opportunities to close to nil.
“Both goalies did a good job pushing stuff to the corners, and the D did a good job of boxing out,” said Roed, a Bemidji State commit. “It was tough getting in front of the net, for sure.”
Roed, who scored the opening goal in White Bear Lake’s 3-2 victory over Forest Lake on Feb. 11, had extended periods of puck possession Tuesday night as he zipped through the neutral zone on multiple rushes, but nothing to show for it.
“He’s so good, one step is all he needs,” Loo said about Roed. “He got us early in the last game, and I think the guys took that a little personal. And they did a good job of rallying to stop him.”
White Bear Lake’s Brady Borgestad had one of the best scoring chances in the third period. The puck squirted behind Sauve, and the puck sat briefly in the crease, an inch or two in front of the goal line. But Fratallone was knocked to the ice by Forest Lake’s Jaxen Steele before he could get his stick on the puck.
Forest Lake’s Garrett Swanson cruised in on partial breakaway in the second period, but Kohnen poke checked the puck out of harm’s way before Swanson could unload a shot. Such scenes were repeated over and over in regulation and throughout the 8-minute overtime.
“Anytime we were playing the dump-in game, both teams were breaking out very well,” Loo said. “When we did get a chance to carry it in and control it, we’d get maybe one or two shots. And that was it. And that was both ways. And that’s a zero-zero game.”
Loo couldn’t remember the last time he saw a 0-0 game, much less coached in one. Same goes for Sauve and Roed. Understandable, considering Tuesday’s final score was just the third 0-0 tie of the season.
The shutout was the third in four games for White Bear Lake and second of the season for Kohnen. The shutout was the third of the season for Forest Lake, which has allowed more than three goals just twice. The shutout was Sauve's second of the season and his best performance since making 32 saves in a 1-0 section playoff shutout of Duluth East on Feb. 18.
Tuesday's tie with White Bear Lake didn't have the same significance, but Sauve, exhausted as he was, was all smiles afterward nonetheless.
“Personally, I’ll always take a shutout as a victory,” Sauve said. “I’m fine with that any day.”