Sabers Extend Winning Streak to Five with Thrilling Overtime Victory

by James Karr

December 19, 2023 - City National Arena Summerlin Hospital Rink A

In a high-octane showdown at City National Arena, the San Diego Sabers continued their impressive form, securing a thrilling 6-5 overtime victory against the Casper Roughnecks. The Sabers' win streak now stands at an impressive five games, thanks in large part to a standout performance by forward Mario Paganini.

Paganini, who had recently achieved his 100-point milestone in the USPHL, put on a dazzling display in the first period by completing a hat trick in just over three minutes. His offensive prowess was on full display, helping the Sabers build a 4-0 lead by the end of the opening frame.

The scoring action began at 7:38, with Paganini burying the puck past Casper goaltender Rivas after an assist from Frizado. Paganini wasted no time adding to his tally, finding the back of the net again at 8:05, this time assisted by Frizado once more. The Sabers' penalty kill unit joined the scoring party when Paganini netted his third of the night at 10:16, while the team was shorthanded. Verstegen capped off the period with another goal, assisted by Hawley and Therrien at 14:53.

Casper fought back in the second period, with Glenn finding the scoresheet at 11:48. Despite the Roughnecks' efforts, the Sabers held a 4-1 lead heading into the final frame.

The third period saw a dramatic turn of events as Casper mounted a comeback. Goals from Mangala, Pickel, and Ma tied the game at 4-4, putting immense pressure on the Sabers. Ouellet, however, stepped up for San Diego, reclaiming the lead at 11:24. The Roughnecks refused to back down, as May scored at 17:25 to force overtime.

In the extra frame, it was Litzinger who played the hero, sealing the Sabers' victory at 4:08.

Despite the win, San Diego faced penalty trouble throughout the game, with notable infractions including tripping, roughing, and boarding. The penalty kill units for both teams were put to the test, with the Sabers successfully fending off four Casper power plays.

In the goaltending duel, Sabers' netminder Perry made 25 saves on 30 shots, while Rivas of the Roughnecks turned away 32 of the 38 shots he faced.

The San Diego Sabers, now riding a five-game winning streak, will look to carry this momentum into their final matchup of the 2023 Las Vegas Showcase against the Seattle Totems tomorrow afternoon at 4 PM. Watch the game live on FloHockey.