The U18 AA Bow Valley Timberwolves punched their ticket to the provincials with a thrilling double-overtime 2-1 win over the Medicine Hat Hounds in front of a crowd of over 350 people in Totem One yesterday (Mar. 19).
The Timberwolves rebounded from a 3-2 loss in the opening game of the series with a 7-4 win in Med Hat on Mar. 18 to set up the thrilling finale of the South Central Alberta Hockey League (SCAHL).
At the 3:09 mark of the second overtime, the crowd erupted when Andrew Grund scored the game-winner from Ayden Duffee.
Team captain Jordan Gale struggled to find words to express how charged up he and his teammates were with the win.
"We've got the families here, we're all brothers, and we all love each other. We're glad that everybody came out for this game. I can't find the words to really explain it, but it was awesome."
Head coach Terry Sydoruk is proud of how the team stepped up to win the championship after losing the first game in front of a hometown crowd on Mar. 17.
"At the end of the day, these guys didn't quit, they worked their butts off," says Sydoruk.
"In the last eight games, we've pulled it together and basically learned and started to believe in ourselves to win."
It took a strong finish by the Timberwolves to top the north division.
In the SCAHL playoff tournament, Mar. 9 to 12, they tied their first game against the Olds Grizzlys, then beat the Central Alberta Selects and Airdrie Lightning. They got the upper hand on the Grizzlys in the semis, then won the north championship against the Red Deer Elks, 2-1.
Sydoruk says the Hounds may not have been the highest-ranking team in the south coming into playoffs, but they worked hard and put their heart into the finals.
"In the second game, we had to win, and we did extremely well down there," says Sydoruk. "But we knew they would compete hard today (Mar. 19)," he says. "The hockey gods were on our side a few times, arguably on theirs, but they're a competitive team, they have a great coach and a very respectable group of guys."
The Timberwolves lead the closely contested north division of the South Central Alberta Hockey League with 17 wins, 13 losses, and 11 ties. The Hounds rose from the middle of the pack in the south division to advance to the final.
Bow Valley has a week to prepare for the provincials being hosted by Sylvan Lake from Mar. 30 to Apr. 2.
"I'm sure the boys will be ready to fight, ready to play, and we'll see where it goes," says Gale.