It was about as crazy an ending one could script in the boys high school hockey CWOSSA qualifier series between the Assumption College Lions and St. John’s College Green Eagles.
The Lions won 6-5 on Tuesday at the Brantford and District Civic Centre to sweep the best-of-three series that determined which team would represent Brant at the Central Western Ontario Secondary Schools Association tournament in March.
The final 1:01 of the third period featured a goal by each team with their goaltender pulled and an extra attacker on the ice.
The Lions came from behind to capture Game 1 of the series on Monday and coach Drew Spark had no interest in playing a Game 3 on Wednesday.
“We decided we wanted to win this outright,” Spark said. “We didn’t want to play (Wednesday). We wanted to win this.”
With that in mind, Spark pulled goaltender Austin Hill with 70 seconds left in the game and the score tied 4-4. The Lions had already worked to pull even after falling behind 4-2 earlier in the game.
The bold move paid off when Connor MacKay scored on a shot from the point with 1:01 left in the game to give the Lions a 5-4 lead.
But two could play at that game.
The Green Eagles called goaltender Tysen Taylor to the bench and Anthony Cappucci tied the game back up with 19.5 seconds left.
That didn’t soften Spark’s resolve to win the game outright. He pulled Hill for the ensuing face off at centre ice. The move almost backfired when the Green Eagles chipped the puck into the Lions’ zone and watched it dribble off the side of the net as time expired.
It only took a few minutes of overtime for the Lions to earn the victory when Justin Deboer knocked home a rebound for the game winner.
The goal also completed a hat trick for Deboer.
“I don’t even know who shot it,” Deboer said after the game. “I was just kind of hacking in the corner and the puck came to me.”
Deboer’s linemates Brandon Martyniuk and Lucas Hartholt drew assists on the goal.
“The line they put together really worked,” Deboer said. “The group of guys I’m playing with just works really well.”
The win was big for the Lions as they sported a 0-2-1 record against the Green Eagles during previous games this season. The teams played once during the regular season before it was cancelled due to a public teacher boycott of extra-curricular activities and played two exhibition games against each other.
“(Monday) was the first time we’ve beaten them all season,” Deboer said.
The Lions will represent Brant at CWOSSA on March 5 and March 6 in Waterloo.
“I’d like to see us make it to Day 2 of the tournament,” Spark said. “We’ve never made it past the first day.”
The Lions have not made a trip to CWOSSA for some time. The team served a two-year suspension in 2010 and 2011 following an ineligible player violation in the 2009 tournament.
“It’s nice for the kids to get a chance to go that were here during that suspension,” Spark said. “We will be playing teams that played together for a 40-game season, so we are a bit behind. But things could be different with the public schools out of it. This might be an opportunity for our team to push a little further.”