Halbgewachs nets winner in triple overtime
|The Warriors celebrate Jayden Halbgewachs’ triple OT winner.|
SWIFT CURRENT, Sask. - You could have almost stuck of a fork in the Moose Jaw Warriors, because it looked like they were done.
Trailing a best-of-seven WHL Eastern Conference semifinal series 3-2 to the Swift Current Broncos, the Warriors showed little life through the first 46 minutes of Game 6 at the Innovation Credit Union i-Plex in Swift Current on Saturday night.
The host Broncos led 1-0 entering the third period and held a 28-9 edge in shots on goal in the opening 40 minutes.
At the 3:35 mark of the third period, Broncos captain Glenn Gawdin fed a backhand pass from the right corner boards in the offensive zone to star right-winger Tyler Steenbergen in front of the Moose Jaw goal. Steenbergen blew home his ninth goal of the post-season to give the Broncos a 2-0 lead.
|Jayden Halbgewachs sets to fire home his overtime winner.|
Out of nowhere, the complexion of the contest changed. At the 6:43 mark of the third period, 17-year-old Warriors defenceman Jett Woo fired home a point shot to cut Swift Current’s edge to 2-1. From that moment onwards, the Warriors, who last made the WHL Eastern Conference championship series in 2012, played a tonne more jump in their stride.
With 8:42 to play in the third period, Warriors captain Brett Howden tipped home a point shot from star defenceman Kale Clague to tie things up at 2-2. At first, the officials didn’t signal goal, because the back end of the Broncos net was flipped into the air, when Howden deflected Clague’s shot down into the Swift Current cage.
The officials checked out the video replay and concluded Howden did score as the net never did come off its pegs. That tally ultimately sent the contest to overtime.
|Matteo Gennaro scored the first goal in Saturday night’s game.|
On the ensuing power play, Warriors star winger Jayden Halbgewachs wired home the winner from the left side boards at the 1:14 mark to give the Warriors a 3-2 victory. The result sent the majority of the sellout crowd of 2,890 home disappointed outside of the healthy contingent of fans that came from Moose Jaw to support the Warriors.
Halbgewachs’ goal allowed the Warriors to even the series up at 3-3 and force a series deciding Game 7 to be held Monday at 7 p.m. at Mosaic Place in Moose Jaw. The winner of that contest will face the Lethbridge Hurricanes in the best-of-seven WHL Eastern Conference Championship series.
|Warriors goalie Brody Willms makes one of 58 saves.|
Actually, the Warriors almost exited the first with the lead. Broncos netminder Stuart Skinner only faced four shots in the first, but with the Warriors working on the power play late in the frame, he turned away Halbgewachs on a backdoor chance.
The hosts continued their onslaught of shots in the second, and the Broncos finally took a 1-0 lead with 6:17 to play in the frame.
|Tyler Steenbergen put the Broncos up 2-0 early in the third.|
After Steenbergen scored early in the third to give the Broncos a 2-0 lead, the Innovation Credit Union i-Plex was jumping. All that did was set the stage for what seemed like an improbably Warriors comeback.
The Broncos had a power play in the first overtime period, but were unable to net the goal that would have won the series.
Willms made 58 saves to pick up the win in goal for the Warriors. Skinner turned away 35 shots to take the setback in goal for the Broncos.
In the immediate aftermath of Saturday’s clash, the Broncos will see the overtime loss as one of those games that got away. The Warriors can say the same thing about Game 4 of the series last Wednesday in Swift Current, where the Broncos pulled out a 3-2 victory in double overtime.
|Jett Woo’s goal sparked a rally by the Warriors.|
It was expected the Warriors and Broncos would engage in a heavyweight tilt, and that tilt has materialized. The Warriors finished first overall in the WHL’s regular season standings with a 52-15-2-3 record, and the Broncos finished second overall with a 48-17-5-2 mark.
Now, we will see who has enough gas in the tank to take the final chapter of this encounter.
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