The capacity crowd at Rod Brind’Amour Arena was on the edge of their seats on Friday night as the scrappy underdogs from Peninsula were back in town to take on the Campbell River Storm in the second game of their first-round playoff series.
Despite winning almost twice as many games through the regular season as the Panthers, the Storm has been in tough thus far in the series. Game one was a 4-2 win for the visitors – who came into the playoff tournament as the No. 8 seed – and they didn’t look to be slowing down Friday night.
Despite mounting plenty of offensive chances in the first period Friday, the Storm couldn’t find a way to beat peninsula goaltender Connor McKillop. Thankfully, the Storm’s all-star goaltender Aaron de-Kok was up for the challenge of keeping his team in the series, as well, turning aside all 12 of Peninsula’s shots in the first, as well.
Midway through the second period, however, when the Storm’s Damon Porter was sent to the box on a slashing penalty, Tanner Wort would solve de Kok, giving the visitors a one goal lead.
Both teams would tighten up on defense from there, however, and both goaltenders would continue their clinics on how to keep your opponents from adding to the scoreboard. The Storm came on stron through the first half of the third period, peppering McKillop with scoring chances, but he was more than up to the task.
But just as the game looked to be over, with the visiting Panthers about to head back down-Island with a two-game lead in the series and the hometown storm on a penalty kill, the faceoff was to McKillop’s right side in the opposition’s zone.
Peninsula’s Josh Lingard won the draw and the puck was cleared out into the neutral zone, and everyone in attendance thought that was the end of it.
But the Storm would get back into the Panthers’ end with a chance, and Mike Dyck would tip a shot past McKillop as the buzzer sounded to end the game.
After what seemed like forever for the hometown fans, the officials awarded Dyck the tying goal with zero seconds remaining, sending the game to overtime.
The first 10-minute overtime period wouldn’t solve anything, but the fans certainly couldn’t say they weren’t getting their money’s worth as the game headed into double overtime with the teams still tied at one.
Both teams were exchanging quality chances through the second overtime period, as well, and just as it looked as though the game would go to a third extra frame, Riley Braun found the puck and hit a streaking Tanner Wort, sending him in alone against de Kok with less than a minute left in the period.
De Kok turned Wort away on the breakaway, but Lingard was there to bang home the second chance after Wort got his own rebound back, ending the game and sending the series back to Peninsula with a 2-0 lead.
Game three goes tomorrow (Sunday) night in Peninsula, with game three to follow on Monday.
Should the Storm take either one of those games, the teams will return to the Brindy on Tuesday.
Buck drop for that game, should it be necessary, is 7:30 p.m.