Game 3 of the OMHA BB novice hockey semifinals in Tillsonburg Sunday had it all.
The excitement, the disappointment, a substantial lead and loss of it, a late penalty and overtime.
“I’m very pleased with these kids and proud, no matter what happens,” said Tillsonburg Ward’s Auto novice coach Trevor Lamb after a 6-5 overtime loss against Port Colborne.
“I told the kids before the game that we knew their backs were against the wall - they had to come out and play hard in this game and they did.”
It was not the happy-ending, series-winning sweep on home ice that the Tornadoes had hoped for Sunday after a 3-2 win in Port Colborne Saturday.
“I think the kids are a little upset, but we played a hard game,” said Lamb. “There’s just three or four more minutes of that hockey game we’d like to have back, there was just a little bit of a lull in our focus on the ice.”
Tillsonburg opened the scoring early with a goal from Beau Jelsma late in the first period. Port Colborne tied things up heading into the second frame. The next 15 minutes saw the Tornadoes jump out to a 4-1 lead with goals from Brandon Homick, Jelsma and Nolan McCrossin.
But Port Colborne stormed back with four third-period goals to lead 5-4. Tillsonburg’s Liam Hicks replied 36 seconds later, with 7:10 left in the third, to knot the score at 5-5.
“They got a little bit of momentum and we can’t give them any momentum at any time,” said Lamb. “We’re two evenly matched teams so we need to play a full game against them and not have those letdowns. We did do a great job killing off the penalty late in the game and we had our chances to finish it, to score some goals.
“Their goalie played really well – we didn’t get a lot of bounces that should have went our way but that’s the game of hockey. You can’t change it, you just have to learn from it and move on.”
Port Colborne’s Sawyer Prokopetz clinched the game with an overtime winner at 7:46.
“We can’t give Port Colborne any chances like that to come back in a game if we want to finish them off, if we want to win the series. And that didn’t happen today.”
Despite the disappointment in Game 3, Lamb said the team remains optimistic.
“It’s a learning experience, and it’s very exciting for the kids. We keep it positive – we have to remember they are just 7 and 8-year-old kids and things like that in hockey happen, so we just have to learn from that and play a little bit harder next game. We just have to bounce back and win in Port Colborne.
“I know these kids – we’ve been with them all year and last year and they’re going to fight back and do their very best on Saturday, and that’s all we can ask from them.”
Game 4 of the OMHA BB semifinals takes place next Saturday, March 9, in Port Colborne. If necessary, Game 5 is back in Tillsonburg on Sunday, March 10 at 1:45 p.m.
Port Colborne 6, Tillsonburg 5
Tillsonburg scoring: 1. Beau Jelsma (Elijah Newson); 2. Brandon Homick (Beau Jelsma, Owen Harris); 3. Beau Jelsma (Nolan McCrossin); 4. Nolan McCrossin; 5. Liam Hicks (Beau Jelsma).