That will go down as one of the craziest endings to a hockey game in recent memory…
Personally, it would rank right up with anything I’ve been associated with in eight seasons calling WHL play-by-play. Judging from Blazer Head Coach Guy Charron's reaction it must be near the top of his list too.
After scoring on the 1st shift of the game just 31 seconds in, the Blazers didn’t have a lot going for them as they eventually fell behind 5-1 in the third period. If Kellan Tochkin’s goal 3:23 into the third period wasn’t a back-breaker to make it 4-1 then Emerson Etem’s goal to make 5-1 at 9:20 surely was…or was it?
The Blazers struck on a PP of their own at 10:22 on a great effort by Colin Smith who went wide before pulling the puck through the crease and tucking it home to make it 5-2.
Smith was up to it again at 15:58 when he dangled a Tiger d-man one-on-one and finished up high on G Tyler Bunz cutting it to 5-3 with four minutes to play. A pretty way to cap the hat-trick for Smith who had the Blazer goal back in the first shift of the game.
A Scott McKay double-minor for high sticking on F Chase Souto with two-and-a-half minutes to play followed shortly by a delay of game penalty to the Tigers D Sebastian Owuya gave the Blazers at least a chance to make it interesting.
With the goalie pulled for a 6-on-3 advantage, Dylan Willck tucked a rebound up high under the bar to get it to 5-4 with 55 seconds on the clock. Still 6-on-3, Willick did it again, same spot and on the rebound with 20 seconds remaining. 5-5.
It was pandemonium on the Blazer bench. I haven’t seen a reaction like that all season. Even some Guy Charron fist pumps for good measure…
The Blazers started OT still on the powerplay – over a minute remaining on the McKay double-minor. Colin Smith looked like he had the game-winner on his stick in the crease but was tackled and hauled down by Wacey Hamilton for yet another Blazer PP. This time the powerplay couldn’t produce a goal as the Tigers re-grouped to kill it off and get back to even strength for the first time in over five minutes of play.
A Linden Vey break-away was stopped cold by G Jeff Bosch – the Tigers only shot in overtime.
With five seconds to play F Brendan Ranford got in behind the Tigers defense for a last second clear-cut break-away. Ranford would only find the post as time expired.
The shootout was almost anti-climatic. In what’s becoming a routine, Colin Smith scored in the shootout’s 2nd round. Jeff Bosch closed the door stopping Tyler Pitlick in the third round as the Blazer bench poured off and raced to mob their goaltender.
Guy Charron could only smile and chuckle during our post-game show. He’s seen a lot of hockey and knows this was a comeback you rarely see.
The Blazers have now been to OT in five straight games – winning four of five in the process and jumping ahead of Prince George for 7th in the Western Conference standings.
I’m going to try and post some audio highlights later today….
A wild night in Medicine Hat…a self-destruct for the Tigers and a Blazer comeback that’ll be remembered for a long time.
- Thomas Frazee finished the night with four assists. Colin Smith and Dylan Willick combined for five goals - both netted their 20th of the season in the win.
- The Blazers played two under the limit dressing only 16 skaters for the game in Medicine Hat. In the 2nd period, F Dalibor Bortnak blocked a shot with his hand/wrist and did not return. He will likely be a game-time decision for the game vs the Kootenay Ice.
- The Blazers PK is 23/24 through four games of the Central division swing. The PP is 9/24 on the trip.
- So long Alberta, the Blazers will miss you. The Blazers went 7-1-1 in Alberta this season.
- The team arrived in Cranbrook just after 4:30AM after a blustery trip in from Medicine Hat. It's the first time the Blazers have played in Cranbrook vs the Ice since December of 2008, a span of nearly 27 months. For many of the Blazers, it will be the first time they've played at the Cranbrook Rec Plex.
Time to shut'er down.... more later before tonight's face-off,