On Elk River’s Hockey Day, Prosser wins one for Wild in overtime

by Bruce Strand, Sports editor

On the day his home town hosted Hockey Day Minnesota, Nate Prosser delivered an overtime goal for the Minnesota Wild to beat the Dallas Stars 3-2 on Saturday evening.
As the Star-Tribune’s lead put it, “You couldn’t have scripted a better ending.”

The 27-year-old defenseman pounced on the rebound after Nini Niederreiter missed a shot, and slipped it past Stars goalie Kari Leohtonen on the short side to set off a big celebration at the Xcel Energy Center.

Nate Prosser
Nate Prosser

Prosser  went two years without a goal before he scored the go-ahead goal in a 4-1 win over Edmonton on Thursday, also at home. He thus became the first-ever Wild defenseman to notch game-winning goals two straight games.

Wild coach Mike Yeo suggested that Elk River mayor John Deitz might have a tough time with re-election if Prosser ran. He quipped to the Star-Tribune, “If there’s any undecided votes on the next mayor of Elk River, I think we cleared that up. That’s a very fitting way to end Hockey Day.”

Prosser has been scratched from the roster in 26 of 51 games this season but has played the last 13 games, averaging 17 minutes,  after Jared Spurgeon injured his foot. The Wild have won seven of their last nine and improved to 27-19-5.

Earlier in the day, his alma mater defeated Stillwater 4-1 at the Handke Pit in the Hockey Day Minnesota televised outdoor game.

In his post-game interview posted on the Wild web site, Prosser said he’d gone down to the Pit earlier in the day to “cheer on my boys, and they came up with a big win.” Then he helped the Wild get one.

“This is an all-time high for me.  I can’t believe what just happened.” He credited Niederreiter and Brian Coyle for good forechecks that set up his opportunity. Asked if this were his biggest goal, he laughed, “By far. There’s not that many of them! So it’s pretty easy to say.”

Prosser attended the Hockey Day Minnesota banquet on Friday evening and gave the pre-meal prayer.