Hey there, time traveller! This article was published 16/4/2019 (479 days ago), so information in it may no longer be current.
PORTAGE LA PRAIRIE — After more than 91 minutes of hockey, the Swan Valley Stampeders still had the energy to celebrate Tuesday night.
And they had good reason to whoop it up after Bradly Goethals’ power-play goal 1:46 into the third overtime period lifted the Stamps to a 4-3 triumph over the Portage Terriers in a gripping, tension-filled Game 5 of the Manitoba Junior Hockey League final before 1,190 fans at Stride Place.
It was Goethals’ third OT winner of the post-season and his second of the series. After a two-point night, he now leads all playoff scorers with 23 points in 15 games and his 11 goals are also tied with teammate Josh Tripp for the post-season lead.
A slashing minor to Portage’s Ocean Wiesblatt 37 seconds into the third OT set the stage for more heroics from Goethals, who pounded a point shot that found its way through Portage goaltender Ethan Peterson’s pads after a perfect setup from Tripp.
"It just dribbled through but what happens is we made Peterson go from his left to his right and when the puck goes cross crease he has to adjust and get set," said Swan Valley assistant coach Darren Webster. "It was a good pass and a quick release."
The Stamps, who lead the best-of-seven Turnbull Cup final 3-2, can claim the first league crown in the franchise’s 20-year history and secure a berth in the ANAVET Cup series against the Saskatchewan Junior Hockey League champions with a victory in Thursday’s Game 6 in Swan River.
"We’ve been in this scenario before, we’ve come from behind late, it’s our third overtime so we knew exactly what we had to do," said Webster.
The Terriers, meanwhile, are trying to win their fourth MJHL title in five years.
Swan Valley’s Kasyn Kruse and Portage’s Ty Barnstable exchanged first-period goals. Barnstable’s marker was a thing of beauty as he converted on a breakaway after a perfect stretch pass from Terriers rookie defenceman Owen Murray.
In the middle frame, Chase Brakel gave the hosts their first lead of the game, beating Stamps goaltender Merek Pipes on his glove side from the high slot.
The Stamps nearly tied the game twice on breakaways — first when Quintin Sudom was denied by Peterson’s quick pad stop and then again when Matthew Osadick was stopped by Peterson with 1:29 left. Moments later, however, Osadick converted Dane Hirst’s feed with a quick one-timer and the teams were tied 2-2 heading to the third period.
In the third, Jay Buchholtz gave the Terriers a 3-2 lead at 1:44 and it was looking like the goal would stand up as the winner until Brian Harris redirected Goethals’ shot past Peterson on Swan Valley’s fourth power play of the game with less than four minutes left in regulation time.
The visitors got a stellar effort from Pipes, who stopped 44 shots. Peterson finished with 37 saves.
"Merek Pipes has been fantastic for us," said Webster. "Special teams were big but you need your goaltender to make the timely saves. Especially on the last penalty kill, he was fantastic."
The Stampeders are now poised to host the biggest game in club history and they don’t want to give the Terriers an opportunity to force Game 7.
"You approach that the way you normally do," said Webster. "I know it’s cliché but we’re going to keep our route, but we know the fourth (win) is always the hardest. Portage is going to be absolutely desperate.
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"They know they’re going to have to come on the road and steal one and our guys are just going to have to control their emotions. You can’t let emotions take over the game. We’re that close but we’re still that far away."
NOTEWORTHY: Portage went 0-for-3 on the power play while the Stampeders scored twice in seven chances... The three stars were: 1. Goethals; 2. Barnstable; 3. Osadick. All three had a goal and an assist.
Game 7, if necessary, would be played Monday at Stride Place.
Mike Sawatzky Sports Reporter
Mike has been working on the Free Press sports desk since 2003.