MINNEAPOLIS -- Little Falls boys' hockey coach Tony Couture read the riot act to Flyer seniors before the final period of Thursday's Class 1A consolation semifinals.
After seizing a 2-0 lead against the Shakopee Sabers, the Flyers fell behind 3-2 after two periods. Couture thought he had to remind Flyer seniors this could be their final high school hockey game.
Instead, seniors like Mikael Lickteig stepped up and boosted the Flyers to a thrilling 4-3 victory at Mariucci Arena.
Lickteig scored two third-period goals within a 2 1/2-minute span to send Little Falls to the consolation championship game 10 a.m. Saturday against Albert Lea.
"Sometimes you have to go in there and give it to them, get them fired up," Couture said. "It's one of those things as a coach. You go in and just yell, you throw your tantrums and hopefully they respond to it. They do or they don't. I haven't had one of those meltdowns in a while so I probably had to have one after that second period.
"I kind of gave it to the seniors in the locker room. I said this would be their last one if somebody doesn't step up for them and starts working hard. Mikael did that. He took two great shots, and almost had another one."
Lickteig tied the game 3-3 at 4:01 of the third with a wrist shot from inside the faceoff circle, assisted by linemate Joey Cotton.
"It was off a faceoff in our own zone," Lickteig said. "Joey got it, shot it down to me, and I caught it. It was me and Steven Festler 2-on-2, and he was covered. I saw the opening and shot it upper right."
Lickteig finished the scoring with a breakaway, beating goalie Ole Hovde with a high shot.
"Butch Rakow saw me, and put it up to me," Lickteig said. "It gave me a nice little breakaway. I saw the corner and went upper corner again. (Hovde) gave it to me again so I just took it."
The goal was Lickteig's 35th of the season.
"Mikael's been there all year," Couture said. "If it hasn't been Steven Festler it's been Mikael Lickteig. If it hasn't been Mikael Lickteig it's been Steven Festler. Sometimes it's both of them. (Thursday) it was Mikael Lickteig."
Class 1A state hockey
Flyers 4, Shakopee 3
The key: Little Falls' Mikael Lickteig scored two third-period goals to give the Flyers a come-from-behind victory.
Next: LF vs. Albert Lea, consolation championship, 10 a.m. Saturday, Mariucci Arena, Minneapolis.
After falling flat in a 9-2 quarterfinal loss Wednesday to Duluth Marshall, the Flyers came out flying in the opening period Thursday. The second line of Lukas Jorgensen, Jared Festler and Beau Hanowski tallied twice in the first 9-plus minutes and Little Falls outshot Shakopee 14-3 in the period.
Jared Festler gave the Flyers a shot of adrenaline, burying a backhand past Hovde at 6:05.
Jorgensen answered a little more than three minutes later with a shot that hit the pipe and didn't appear to have crossed the goal line but the red goal light flashed on. An official conferred with the goal judge and ruled the puck was in the net, and Little Falls led 2-0.
Shakopee flexed its muscle in the second, firing in three unanswered goals and outshooting the Flyers 17-6.
A nifty passing play in front of Flyers goalie Jake Kluver enabled Nick Pexa to put Shakopee on the board. Shakopee's Calvin Simon tied it 2-2 when he shifted from his forehand to his backhand to beat Kluver. Kyle Pidde's goal a second before the second period ended put Shakopee ahead 3-2.
Shakopee 0 3 0 -- 3
Little Falls 2 0 2 -- 4
First period -- LF-Jared Festler (Lukas Jorgensen, Beau Hanowski) 6:06; LF-Jorgensen (J. Festler, Hanowski) 9:16
Second period -- Shk-Nick Pexa (Chris Huth, Calvin Simon) 3:22; Shk-Simon (Adam Friese, Kyle Pidde) 5:36; Shk-Pidde (Alex Lindholm) 16:59
Third period -- LF-Mikael Lickteig (Joey Cotton) 4:01; LF-Lickteig (Butch Rakow) 6:31
Power-play opportunities -- LF 0-3, Shk 0-3
Shots on goal -- LF 14-6-7--27, Shk 3-17-4--24
Goalies -- LF-Jake Kluver (21 saves), Shk-Ole Hovde (23 saves)
Overall -- LF 21-9-0, Shakopee finishes 13-16-2.
Mike Bialka can be reached at email@example.com or at 855-5861.
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