The Estevan Bruins defeated the Flin Flon Bombers in overtime Saturday night to take a three-two series lead in the Saskatchewan Junior Hockey League (SJHL) final.
Flin Flon opened the scoring early and took a two point lead after the first period with goals from Jaeden Mercier and Zak Smith.
However Estevan would fire back early in the second to cut the lead in half.
“It was a big goal, it kind of jumpstarted our comeback,” said forward Eric Pearce. “We told ourselves at the intermission this is do or die and so we came out strong in the second.”
The Bruins would trail the rest of the game until defenseman Nolan Jones would find the back of the net with under six seconds to go in the game.
“We were pretty pumped up. The leaders on the team said we have to keep an even keel. It was a big moment in the game but anyone could still win at this point,” said Pearce. “So I think we kind of calmed the team down and came out ready to go.”
In overtime Bombers goaltender Cal Schell was still solid between the pipes and made it hard for the Bruins to find any space. He stopped 48 of 51 shots on the night and earned the game’s first star.
But ultimately Bruins point leader, Olivier Pouliot would be the game’s hero with his goal just over eight minutes into the first overtime.
“I was just trying to get to the net. I see the puck was coming and I just smash it, almost fell and turned and saw the puck in the back of the net,” said Pouliot. “It’s one of the best goals I’ve scored probably.”
The Bruins will now look to close out the series when they head to Flin Flon for game six on Tuesday.
No team has been able to win on the road this series. However, the Bruins aren’t worried about that statistic.
“We’ve played in small rinks before. They do a good job there (Flin Flon). They play very well,” said Head Coach and General Manager, Jason Tatarnic. “We’re going to have to do some things differently and start preparing and our focus is to go there and try and win that hockey game.”
Both teams are looking to end extensive championship droughts. The Estevan Bruins have not won since 1999 and the Bombers since 1993.