Entering Tuesday night's game against Mankato West at the Mankato All Seasons Arena, Northfield boys hockey had been outscored 10-2 in the third period through the first five games of the season.
That narrative shifted rapidly Tuesday, when the Raiders entered the final 17-minute frame trailing by a goal before they scored twice to win 3-2, with the game-winner coming with 50 seconds left in the game.
That game-winning goal came from sophomore forward Spencer Klotz off an assist from junior forward Carson Van Zuilen and senior forward Teague Nelson. Earlier in the period, Nelson tied the game off an assist from Van Zuilen, who scored the first goal of the game for the Raiders with 4:47 left in the second period.
Van Zuilen's tally came on the power play, the first goal with the man-advantage for the Raiders since a season-opening win at Faribault, and was assisted by senior defender Kearic Gargrave.
All that late scoring helped Northfield (3-3, 3-0 Big 9 Conference) overcome a sluggish first period, which ended without any goals for either side despite Mankato West (2-3, 1-1) possessing a 12-3 advantage in terms of shots.
Then, in the second period, the Raiders killed off five consecutive penalties, but the Scarlets still took a 2-1 lead entering the third period. Mankato West ended the game with a 21-20 advantage in shots, but were outshot in the final two periods by Northfield.
Northfield senior Cal Frank made 19 saves in net, most of which came early on, to allow the Raiders to surge back in the third period.
"Cal kept us in it for the first period in a half," Northfield coach Mike Luckraft said. "It was a good game. They're good, and it was a good up and down game."
Northfield will next travel to take on Rochester Mayo (0-5, 0-3) on Thursday night.
Raider girls hockey blasts Century
Even if Northfield wasn't able to fully separate Tuesday night against Rochester Century at the Rochester Recreation Center, the Raiders still didn't have to sweat much during a 7-1 victory.
Northfield jumped out to a 4-1 lead after the first period thanks to a pair of goals from freshman forward Tove Sorenson, and one each from eighth-grade forward Emerson Garlie and junior forward Jess Boland. Boland would score again in the second period, which also saw a goal from senior defender Payton Fox, while Sorenson completed her hat trick with the lone goal of the third period.
Fox, eighth-grade defender Ayla Puppe, sophomore defender Cambria Monson, junior forward Rachel Braun and junior forward Marta Sorenson all added an assist apiece.
By the end of the game, the Raiders (6-2, 4-0 Big 9 Conference) had outshot outshot the Panthers (0-9, 0-5) 58-3.
Northfield is next in action Thursday night against Rochester Mayo (2-5, 1-4) at Northfield Ice Arena.
Northfield boys basketball falters at JM
Despite only playing six players and receiving the large majority of its scoring from two players, Rochester John Marshall topped Northfield on Tuesday night at home 62-52.
Senior Lincoln Meister scored a game-high 29 points for the Rockets, while Jacob Daing added 20 points and 11 rebounds to power the Rockets (1-1, 1-0 Big 9 Conference).
The Raiders, meanwhile, were led by 22 points from junior guard Karsten Clay and 15 points from junior guard Kip Schetnan.
Northfield (1-2, 1-1) struggled shooting from the field (20 of 54, 37%) and from behind the arc (4 of 17, 23%), while Rochester John Marshall shot the ball efficiently from the field (21 of 42, 50%), while only attempting seven shots from behind the arc and making a pair of them.
The Raiders are next in action Friday night at Rochester Century (2-2, 2-1).