The hockey showdown for the top spot for the SEC White was just that Saturday night when Dexter and Chelsea skated off the ice with a 3-3 tie at Veterans Ice Arena in Ann Arbor.
The tie did not change anything in the standings and left Chelsea and its fans in a way happy with the outcome while the Dreadnaughts are now going to need help to repeat as league champions.
The Bulldogs went in to the game leading the Dreads by one point thanks to the tie with Ann Arbor Pioneer Friday night. Chelsea now leads the White with 14 points with Dexter right behind with 13. Both teams have games with Pinckney and Lenawee United remaining, while Dexter has a game at Jackson and Chelsea a game against Ann Arbor Huron. Dexter will need to win its three remaining league games and hope that Chelsea will tie or drop one of their remaining three.
The game was your typical Dexter/Chelsea rivalry game with a lot more on the line.
Throughout the night both teams were upset with the officiating and calls that went against each.
Chelsea carried most of the play early and went on the power play in the first period and capitalized when Tyler Valik wristed home a hot from in front of the net to give the Bulldogs a 1-0.
It would stay that way until the second and that is when things started to get slightly out of hand.
Dexter started putting more pressure on the Bulldogs and worked the puck toward the net. There was a battle for the puck in front of the net and it appeared the Chelsea goaltender was hit. During the scramble Dexter’s Joey Fracassi lifted the puck into the net to tie the game at one. During the scrum a lot of pushing and shoving was happening and the Bulldogs goaltender was thrown from the game, giving the Dreadnaughts a five minute power play for a major.
During the major, Chelsea would be called for two more penalties to give Dexter 5 on 3 advantages and both times the Dreadnaughts would capitalize. Johnny Poszywak tipped home a rebound with 32 seconds left in the first 5 on 3 to make it 2-1 and after the second Chelsea penalty Dylan Hutchison found the net to make it 3-1.
Chelsea called a timeout to try to settle things down and was able to kill the rest of the major penalty.
Just a minute after the major was killed Dexter was called for a penalty. The Bulldogs pulled their goalie to give them a man advantage on the delayed call and they made it count and Devin McIntyre tipped the puck home to make it 3-2 and swing the momentum back in the Bulldogs favor.
The score would remain 3-2 after two periods and both teams came out in the third with some good scoring chances.
Dexter’s Caleb Kril came up with a huge save of a Bulldogs breakaway early in the third to keep the Dreadnaughts on top.
A short time later Chelsea’s Ben Mitts came up with three straight saves to keep it 3-2. He came up big later in the period when the Dreadnaughts rifled a shot off of a faceoff and Mitts made big glove save.
With 1:46 left in the 3rd Chelsea brought Mitts to the bench for an extra attacker. There was a wild scramble in front of the net and the puck some how founds its way into the net as Gabe Vowles poked it home to tie it at 3-3 with 1:05 left.
It would remain that way and go into overtime.
Chelsea had a couple of quality chances early in the overtime, but missed a couple of shots over the net.
With four minutes left in OT Chelsea was called for tripping to put Dexter on the power play. This call came just a few seconds after the referees appeared to miss an interference call on Dexter that had the Bulldogs and their fans screaming.
Dexter missed wide on a couple of shots and was called for a penalty one minute in to the power play to make it 4 on 4.
Neither team could muster much in the final three minutes and the game ended in the 3-3 tie.
Collecting assists for Chelsea were Valik, Vowles, Wes Hansen, and Jack Capper.
Brendan Busdeker had two assists for the Dreadnaughts.
Chelsea is now 6-2-2 in the White, while Dexter is 6-3-1.