Ben Troumbly had practiced for this moment. Hundreds of times.
So he went through his checklist without thinking.
Keep your poise. Stay calm. Move your feet. Get to open ice.
"When that net opens up, it's so big, it's like you can't miss," Troumbly said after scoring 23 seconds into overtime Friday to lift Greenway/Nashwauk-Keewatin, the tiny Iron Range program that was all but dead a decade ago because of a player shortage, past Mahtomedi 3-2 and into the Class 1A championship game.
Troumbly's winner capped an unlikely comeback for the No. 4-seeded Raiders (17-13), who have the most losses of any team in the tournament. Relying mostly on two forward lines compared to top-seeded Mahtomedi's three, Greenway — with a listed enrollment of 269 compared to Mahtomedi's 1,136 — mustered the energy and resolve to rally from a 2-1 deficit in the final two minutes.
The little team that could, did.
"When you believe, you believe," Greenway coach Grant Clafton said about the Raiders' panic-free approach to the finish. "It's a calm, cool, collected, mature group of kids."
A power-play goal by Troumbly — on a shot that whizzed past the ear of goaltender Ben Dardis of Mahtomedi (22-7-1) — with 1:46 left forced the overtime. Troumbly's winner came on the rebound of his own shot, a throwaway attempt he just wanted to get on net.
"They have a young goalie, and he played really well," Troumbly said of Dardis, a freshman. "We knew we had to get pucks on net and test him."
"I saw [the puck] hit my body, and after that I lost sight of it," Dardis said. "The next thing you know it is in the back of the net."