ST. CLOUD, Minn. - The puck found Carter Randklev in just the nick of time.
The Moorhead senior forward scored with 29 seconds left in overtime to lift the Spuds to a thrilling 3-2 boys hockey victory over Centennial High School in the nightcap of Hockey Day in Minnesota here at Lake George.
Randklev went top shelf on a wrist shot to finally put the Class 2A No. 8 Cougars away.
"I knew it was getting toward the end overtime, so I just decided to sit in a soft area in the slot," Randklev said. "I was hoping that the puck would get to me. I got lucky. When it came to me, I knew I had to finish it for my team and the whole Moorhead community."
The Spuds (13-6) controlled the puck for most of the game and ended up with a gaudy 38-24 shots on goal advantage over the Cougars (10-4-3).
But No. 13 Class 2A Moorhead gave up a 2-0 lead after Centennial scored two goals in the second period. A scoreless third period led to a tense overtime session.
"We were battling all game. We were putting a lot of shots on net. Their goalie was just making a lot of great saves," Randklev said. "We kind of let up after being up 2-0. Centennial's a good team and they came back to make it a game. It was a grind to get this win."
Moorhead jumped out to the 2-0 lead with first-period goals from Cole O'Connell and Kyler Kleven.
Centennial scored short-handed and on the power play in the second period to tie it with goals from Will Francis and Hayden Brickner.
Spuds head coach Jon Ammerman admitted he was checking his heart rate on his Fitbit in the third period and overtime.
"My heart was going through the roof," he said. "This was so much fun and a great event for our players, their families and our community.
"For us to have that guy (Randklev) in front of the net with the puck at the end of the game? You can't ask for much more than that."
After Randklev's goal, his team mobbed him right next to the Moorhead bench. Spuds goalie Lance Leonard, who held the Cougars scoreless after the second period, skated across the ice to make sure he got in on the celebration.
Leonard had 20 saves while Centennial goalies Travis Allen and Bryce Cowley combined for 35 saves.
"This is something we'll never forget," Leonard said. "The amount of people watching this game here and across the state (on Fox Sports North) was amazing. I can't begin to tell you how pumped up I am."
Randklev called the Hockey Day in Minnesota experience the "second best" in his high school career. He'd like to cap it off with another trip to the state tournament in March in St. Paul.
It was the third game of the day at Lake George and followed a women's college hockey game between St. Cloud State and Minnesota-Duluth.
"Our senior group is really tight knit," Randklev said. "We'll remember this game until the day we die. It doesn't get much better than this."
FIRST PERIOD: 1, MHS, Cole O'Connell (Isaac Henkemeyer-Howe) 4:08. 2, MHS, Kyler Kleven (Jack Stetz) 10:42.
SECOND PERIOD: 3, CHS, William Francis 2:42. 4, CHS, Hayden Brickner (Lucas McGregor, Jack Menne) 7:45.
THIRD PERIOD: No scoring.
OVERTIME: 5, MHS, Carter Randklev (Stetz) 7:31.
SAVES: CHS Travis Allen 13, Bryce Crowley 22. MHS, Lance Leonard 20.