The Lake Tahoe Icemen swept a three-game set this past weekend from the Southern Oregon Spartans and grabbed sole possession of second place in the Western States Hockey League's Northwest Division.
Icemen forward Paul Frys extended his scoring streak to 24 games, which included a hat trick Saturday in one period, and Lake Tahoe outscored Southern Oregon 17-8 Friday, Saturday and Sunday, Feb. 9-11, in front of its home crowd at South Lake Tahoe Ice Arena.
The teams entered the series as the top two in penalty minutes in the WSHL, but surprisingly, players didn't spend a lot of minutes in the penalty box.
The Icemen beat the Spartans 6-3 in the series opener, 3-2 in Game 2 and 8-3 in the finale.
The Icemen came out strong in the opener and pressured the Spartans throughout the first period, out shooting them 21-3. Tahoe goalie Maximilian Haselbacher ended up saving 30 of 33 shots. The Icemen took 40 shots.
Easton Easterson scored twice and was credited with the game winner at 16:03 in the third.
Icemen Phillip Heisse III opened a big series with two goals and an assist. And Frys recorded four assists. Heisse and Frys each led Tahoe over the three games with 10 points apiece. Both scored three goals and made seven assists.
Also for Tahoe (23-19-3), Lucas Demsar had two assists and John Soliday and Gabel Longshore added goals.
Easterson scored the game-winning goal Saturday night as well, capping a third-period, three-goal rally that erased a 2-0 deficit entering the final third.
The Southern Oregon goaltender was tough for the first two periods and the Spartans somehow managed to escape a penalty after a player gave Icemen JP Poirier a blocker to the face in the first period.
The referees, having missed the initial incident, gave Poirier a 2-minute penalty for a retaliatory slash, but he wasn't able to serve it as WSHL rules do not allow for a player to remain on the ice while bleeding.
Trailing 2-0, the Icemen scored their first goal of the game with 12:47 left. Heisse III and Danylo Moroz scored the first two goals.
Icemen goaltender Wade Conlan made 18 saves on 20 shots and the Spartan goalie allowed just three goals on 52 shots.
The series finale started close through the first period (2-1) but the Icemen opened up a 5-1 lead after the second.
Scoring goals for the Icemen were Frys with three, all in the third period, Mitch Hunt and Moroz each had two and Jackson Oleson had the other.
Icemen goalie Tommy Spero made 23 saves on 26 shots and assisted on one of the goals.
Tahoe next plays against the same Southern Oregon Spartans again on Feb. 23-25, but this time in Oregon.
Tahoe is expected to play again at home this season in the upcoming playoffs, but dates and format have not yet been set.