The JM-Mayo rivalry: Games 61-70
Posted by: Feldman
Today's Rivalry Recaps feature a historic matchup in a section championship game, a remarkable late-game comeback by Mayo for an OT victory, and a playoff matchup in front of a record crowd.
Let's get right to it today, with games 61-70, spanning March, 1994, to January, 1998.
GAME 61 / March 5, 1994 / Mayo 5, JM 2
Mayo wins historic matchup
For a rivalry that had spanned nearly 30 years and 60 games, this game marked the first time that Mayo and John Marshall had met in a section championship game. This one just happened to be played on the Olympic-size ice sheet at the newly opened Mariucci Arena on the University of Minnesota campus. The difference in the game came down to specialty teams, with Mayo scoring three power play goals in the victory. Nate Moen scored just his fourth goal of the season on a power play with 36 seconds to go in the second period, and it held up as the game winner. "It felt great," Moen said. "It's the best feeling in the world. This is what we've looked rorward to all our lives." Senior Mike Rippentrop scored twice for the Spartans. Moen's goal snapped a 2-2 tie and gave Mayo the lead for good. The Spartans advanced to state for the second time in three years. … Mayo senior Josh Spaniol missed most of the game when his shoulder popped out early in the second period. … This game marked just the second time ever that Mayo had beaten JM three times in a season (1973-74). ... Both goalies, Mayo's Kevin Truax and JM's Derek Link, had 18 saves.
GAME 62 / Jan. 5, 1995 / JM 3, Mayo 2
JM rebounds, survives
JM lost three consecutive games at the Kiwanis Festival, then had to face its biggest rival coming out of the Christmas break. The Rockets rallied nicely, building a 3-0 lead early in the third period, then holding off a Mayo rally down the stretch. Darrell Link, Brian Buskowiak and Dan Wegwerth scored for JM. Buskowiak got the winner, on a power play at 4:49 of the third. Tony Grosso scored twice for Mayo in the final 5:23 and the Spartans had a golden opportunity to tie it in the final minute. They had a 5-on-3 power play and Grosso scored at 14:22 to make it 3-2. The Spartans then pressured JM goalie Derek Link (34 saves), but couldn't get another one past him.
GAME 63 / Feb. 4, 1995 / Mayo 4, JM 1
Solid 'D' lifts Spartans
Mayo limited John Marshall to just 19 shots on goal and the Spartans won their eighth consecutive game of the 1994-95 season. Tony Grosso scored twice for the Spartans, who never trailed in the game. JM goalie Derek Link held his team in the game — the score was just 2-1 after two periods — with 34 saves on 37 shots faced (Mayo scored an empty-netter in the third). Marc Ranfranz stopped 18 shots for Mayo.
GAME 64 / Jan. 4, 1996 / Mayo 5, JM 1
Power play powers Mayo
Mayo scored on its first three power plays and went up 5-0 when Jason Davis scored his second goal of the game with 10 seconds to go in the second period. JM's Brandon Kanz spoiled Mayo's shutout bid with a slapshot from the point with 4:50 to go in the htird. JM outshot Mayo, 31-28. Marc Ranfranz was outstanding for the Spartans, making 30 saves.
GAME 65 / Feb. 3, 1996 / Mayo 4, JM 3 (OT)
Mayo wins in wild fashion
Mayo took drama in this rivalry to a new level in this game. The Spartans scored twice in the final 1:58 of regulation, one from Jason Davis at the 13:02 mark, and the tying goal from Matt Leimbek (his second of the game) with just 7 seconds to go in regulation. Then, Jason Notermann capped a wild comeback by putting a shot through the legs of JM goalie Derek Link with just 12 seconds to go in OT. "Right when I grabbed the puck, I looked at the clock and saw 20 seconds," Notermann said. "I was thinking this was the last play of the game, if we don't capitalize …" Brian Buskowiak scored twice for the Rockets. Both goalies were again phenomenal, with Link and Mayo's Marc Ranfranz each stopping 28 shots.
GAME 66 / Feb. 24, 1996 / JM 5, Mayo 1
JM ends Mayo's season in front of record crowd
More than 3,000 fans packed the Rec Center — a number the P-B reported was the largest crowd ever to watch a high school hockey game in Rochester — to watch JM top Mayo in a Section 1AA semifinal game. It was sweet revenge for the Rockets, who had lost to the Spartans twice in the regular season. JM goalie Derek Link stepped up to stop the handful of quality scoring chances that Mayo had. After the Spartans pulled within 2-1 in the third, Link made sure they would get no closer. Midway through the third, Mayo's Matt Leimbek put on a highlight-reel series of moves to get the puck into the Rockets zone. Leimbek shook a JM defender and cut across the net, but Link moved with him to make the stop. JM went on to beat Albert Lea in the section championship game and advance to the state tournament.
GAME 67 / Jan. 2, 1997 / Mayo 4, JM 0
Brawl puts halt to game
The scoreboard read 4-0 with 3.9 seconds to go when the officials put a halt to one of the most testy games in the long rivalry. A late-game brawl resulted in two players being ejected. A crunching hit into the boards left Mayo's Matt Leimbek with a cut over his left eye and JM's Matt Hangge in the box with a 5-minute major. Coaches Lorne Grosso and Bruce Frutiger addressed the crowd over the PA system in an attempt to calm emotions among students and players. "It's stupid hockey. I hate stuff like that," Grosso said. Marc Ranfranz made 11 saves to earn the shutout for Mayo, while the Spartans' top line did all of the scoring — two for Brian Buskowiak, one each for Leimbek and Jason Notermann.
GAME 68 / Feb. 1, 1997 / Mayo 3, JM 2
Spartans win by a foot
Mayo goalie Marc Ranfranz preserved the Spartans' second consecutive victory against JM by a foot. With Mayo up by a goal in the third period, JM's Matt Hangge broke free, short-handed. He made his move and thought he had Ranfranz beaten, but Ranfranz stuck his leg out and saved the victory with a foot save. "I thought he had me," Ranfranz said. "I just got the edge of my toe on it." Said Hangge: "I thought I had him. He made a great save. I had him going one way, then he stuck his foot out." Jason Notermann scored twice for the Spartans, including the game winner with 4:34 remaining in the third period. Brian Buskowiak also scored once for Mayo, while Ranfranz finished with 13 saves. JM received goals from Hangge and Adam Renkly. Rockets goalie Derek Link had another superb outing, stopping 38 shots, including 16 in the first period.
GAME 69 / Dec. 18, 1997 / Mayo 1, JM 0
Spartans survive rare 1-0 game
For just the third time in the history of the rivalry, Mayo and JM played to a 1-0 outcome (JM had won both of the previous 1-0 games). It hasn't happened since. Mayo coach Lorne Grosso called it "not a typical crosstown game. Both teams were so defensive minded." Brian Fisher scored the only goal of the game, midway through the third period, and Tanner Moffit made 16 saves to earn the shutout. He preserved the victory with a pair of big-time saves in the second period, stopping JM on two short-handed breakaways.
GAME 70 / Jan. 27, 1998 / Mayo 7, JM 4
A historic meeting, an unlikely hero
In the final game between the long-time rivals before Rochester Century began playing varsity hockey, Mayo snapped a 3-3 tie by scoring three consecutive goals. Jason Thackeray stepped up for the Spartans, taking the place of injured forward Colin Nash, and scoring two goals, with one assist. Thackeray's first goal, on a power play at 13:11 of the second, held up as the game winner. In addition to Thackeray's big night, defenseman Kevin Landherr had a goal and three assists for the Spartans, Brian Fisher had a goal and two assists, Ben Fjerstad had a goal and an assist, and Brandon Wiltgen had two assists. JM's goals were scored by Andy Vix, Steve Rettke, Greg Schelling and Adam Renkly. "Any win against JM is nice," Mayo coach Landherr told the P-B after the game. "It's always a big game. This is the game you really want to win, if you're going to win any." Tanner Moffit made 18 saves to pick up the victory.
Through 70 games
• JM leads the series, 40-28-2
• JM has outscored Mayo, 249-195