But in reality, it was the last minute of the first period that proved fatal for the Rough Riders (3-4, 1-3 Red South).
After Nick Drew's goal with 1:48 left in the opening stanza put the Rough Riders ahead 2-1, the Invaders (7-2) tallied twice in the last 58 seconds to take a 3-2 lead. The real killer was the last goal, which came seven seconds before the final buzzer.
On that play, Kent Roosevelt had control of the puck in the Normandy zone as the clock wound down. The Invaders eventually cleared the puck through an opening at the far point. Normandy's Paul Schmaltz proceeded to outrace a Rough Rider defenseman to the puck and fed it ahead to Erik Milliron, who skated in all alone on Kent Roosevelt goalie Ross Stalvey and beat the sophomore netminder to give the Invaders their first lead of the game.
"The three mistakes in the first period cost us the game," said Kent Roosevelt coach Kirk Koennecke of Normandy's three-goal uprising. "We took too long, some of our best players took too long to wake up tonight. They have to learn to respond to pressure with poise. Right now they are not doing that for three periods. That sums up the whole game."
Milliron did more damage in the early portion of the second period, when he backhanded a shot past Stalvey while unchecked in front of the net during the final four seconds of a Normandy power play to increase the margin to 4-2.
Kent Roosevelt got back into the game when Richie Fortin, from the near corner and parallel to the goal line, threw a shot towards the net that Phil Marken got a stick on and directed past Normandy goalie Joe Gezymalla with 6:16 left in the stanza.
After a pair of power plays late in the period and one more in the final 20 minutes failed to produce the game-tying tally, the Rough Riders knotted the game when Brandon Hamilton put in a rebound with 4:48 remaining.
The tie was short-lived, as a Kent Roosevelt cross-checking penalty less than one minute later once again gave Normandy a man advantage.
The Invaders needed only 14 seconds of the power play to get the winner. Frederick put in a rebound off Mike Skufza's shot from the point that had deflected off Stalvey's facemask.
"I can't fault our effort throughout the second and third period," said Koennecke. "We had all the pressure on them we could muster; we just came up short."
Charlie Owen scored the game's first goal midway through the opening period, but that was answered by Schmaltz's goal with less than three minutes left in the period.
Parma Normandy 5, Kent Roosevelt 4
(At KSU Ice Arena)
NORMANDY 3 1 1 _ 5
KENT ROOSEVELT 2 1 1 _ 4
First Period _ 1. (KR) Charlie Owen (A.J. Catalano, Nick Sandstrom), 7:26; 2. (N) Paul Schmaltz (Scott Monaco, Erik Milliron), 2:49; 3. (KR) Nick Drew (Cody Ray), 1:48; 4. (N) Mark Monaco (Justin Yurchenko, Kevin Frederick), :58; 5. (N) Milliron (Schmaltz, Piastrelli), :07.
Second Period _ 6. (N) Milliron (S. Monaco, Chuck Vinyard), 11:59; 7. Phil Marken (Richie Fortin), 6:16.
Third Period _ 8. (KR) Brandon Hamilton (Matt Kotch), 4:48; 9. (N) Frederick (Mike Skufza), 3:48.
Shots on Goal _ Normandy, 27-12.
Goalies/Saves _ (N) Joe Gezymalla/8; (KR) Ross Stalvey/21.