SHERIDAN — Sunday morning came and went like most Sundays do. Not much commotion defined Sheridan as a relatively small group of people frequented their favorite breakfast joints and places of worship.
The morning sun coated the Bighorns with early rays on a rather brisk Dec. 3.
Just a good ole lazy Sunday.
It felt that way for the Sheridan Hawks at Whitney Rink at the M&M’s Center, as well. Sheridan played host to Laramie, and the Hawks had trouble shaking off the Sunday sluggishness.
“That’s what we are known for,” Sheridan’s Justin Bailey said. “We’ve always been kind of slower and sluggish on Sunday. It has just been like that through the years. No idea why.”
But three goals in the final 12 minutes helped Sheridan rally for its second win in as many days as the Hawks edged the Laramie Outlaws 3-2.
Sheridan used up nearly every second of those final 12 minutes as Bailey provided the fireworks, scoring the go-ahead goal with two seconds remaining in the game.
“Oh my gosh,” Bailey said of the final few seconds. “We put our power line out because we really needed to get the goal in. We got the puck up the ice and we made it happen.”
Notice how Bailey said “we.” He couldn’t have been more correct.
Bailey wouldn’t have had the opportunity to play the hero if not for Gunnar Swanson, who scored the equalizer, and Swanson wouldn’t have leveled the score if not for Jack Chase’s goal that broke Laramie’s shutout.
Chase’s breakthrough, assisted by Bailey, came with 11:52 left, and it marked one of the few good chances the Hawks had the entire morning.
“It felt like it broke the seal,” Sheridan head coach Kirk Viren said. “The guys finally started to believe. It was just a relief. It was like, ‘Now we are in this.’”
Swanson found the back of the net, assisted by Samuel Boyles and Toby Jacobs, with 3:39 to play in the game. But even before that goal, confidence was sky high for the Hawks.
“You’re just on the bench, and before Gunnar’s goal we said, ‘We are not going for the tie.’ We want to win, and then it’s like, ‘Holy smokes, we are going to win this,’ Bailey said.
The team thought it, believed it and Bailey made it come true in the waning seconds.
Sheridan goalie Joshua Eaton’s play somewhat got lost in the euphoria of the Hawks’ second victory of the season. When Sheridan’s less-than-stellar offense scrapped by for the majority of the game, Eaton rose to the occasion and made 32 saves on 34 shot attempts.
“Josh did a great job keeping it only a two-goal game,” Viren said. “That can’t be overstated enough. That was huge.”
The Outlaws recorded a goal apiece in the first and the second periods and their goalie, Sam Miller, turned away 24 of 27 shot attempts on the day.
Joseph Kelly did not experience the same amount of success Saturday. The Hawks battered the Outlaws’ goalie with 35 shots and eight of them slipped past as Sheridan dominated Laramie 8-2.
A far cry from the tense game Sunday.
“Every game is different,” Bailey said. “They may play harder. We may not play as good. It’s always different.”
Bailey didn’t need a flare for the dramatics Saturday. In fact, Bailey didn’t even score in Saturday’s barrage. Seven different Hawks found the back of the net, and Samuel Boyles logged a pair of goals. Boyles tallied two first-period goals as the Hawks held a 2-1 lead at the conclusion of the opening 18 minutes.
Laramie tied it for a brief moment during the second period before Swanson and Gavin Jones scored to make it 4-2 heading into the final period. Joel Bailey, Toby Jacobs, Ben Lavigne and Wade Jacobs poured it on with goals in the final 18 minutes to log the Hawks’ first win of the season.
Eaton eased to another impressive day in net as he turned away 27 of 29 shot attempts.
Sheridan remains at home for the next couple of weeks, playing host to Casper this upcoming weekend.