As the temperature in Baudette continued its decline, Roseau was teetering on the brink of their first loss of the season. In fact, the Rams had won their last 35 games. But with 10:39 remaining, Jason Fabian saved the streak, scoring the only goal of the game to give the Rams a 1-0 victory over Blaine.
For as much credit as Fabian deserves, the real stars of the game were Blaineís Danny Harper and Roseauís Mike Lee. Forty-minutes of hard-hitting, championship level hockey played out before a goal was scored.
Even when Fabian beat Harper, one could argue the goalie did all he could. A loose puck rolled in front of the goaltender, and before he could react Fabian reached and flipped the lone score past a flailing Harper.
The ice, chewed up from the first game of the Baudette Bay Hockey Classic, deteriorated throughout the contest. Blaine failed to capitalize on numerous two-on-one and breakaway opportunities. Pucks took bad bounces, players were unable to stay on their skates and shots were missed wide.
Though there were many follies, Roseauís defense, and in particular their goaltender, made sure that crazy bounces didnít turn into bizarre goals.
Lee made several highlight-reel saves, a few of them coming in the desperate last-minute Blaine surge.
Near the end of the game, the Rams took a penalty giving the Bengals a much needed power play. Unfortunately, Blaine was called for their own infraction moments later, negating the man-advantage.
As Harper strode off the ice, Blaine frantically fired shots at Lee, but the junior would not give. As the last few face offs were taken in Roseauís defensive zone, Harper paced the bench area, ignoring the heat tunnel that was set up to help players deal with the increasingly frigid climate.
Roseau, whose winning streak now stands at 36, has two games remaining in the regular season. The defending champs will travel to International Falls before hosting Grand Rapids.
Blaine finishes with three road games: Champlain Park, Maple Grove and Elk River.