With less than eight minutes remaining on the clock, the score was 4-1 for the Coaldale Copperheads in a must-win game for the Gens.
A lesser team would give up hope and call it a season. Not today, said the Gens, not in our barn.
The "Everyone Ropes and Everybody Rides" crew had an explosive comeback in a dramatic 6-5 win in front of a roaring crowd last night at the Cochrane Arena.
Down 2-1 at the start of the third, the Gens were left fighting off four minutes of a penalty taken late in the second. Coaldale capitalized on the powerplay to secure a 4-1 lead and the house went quiet.
The Gens were still in penalty trouble when Caden Chudleigh scored a short-handed goal on a feed from Ryan Davis who had just taken the puck the length of the ice. It proved to be the ice breaker.
Moments later Brandon Aab came out of the box to take a pass and cut the lead to one with 5:20 remaining. Only another 17 seconds had passed when Chris Sambrook tied the game and it was Aab's third goal of the night that put the Gens back in the lead with 1:39 on the clock.
Game over? Nope.
The Copperheads tied it up 14 seconds later and overtime looked imminent. That changed when Braden Bain scored the winner from Taylor Girard with 41 seconds remaining.
Gens head coach Travis McMillan says it came down to playing a full 60 minutes
"It just goes to shows, even tonight, that you have to play a complete hockey game to win," says McMillan. "With our two teams being as good as they can be, it can change in five minutes. That's exactly what happened in the last two games."
The night before in Coaldale, the Gens surrendered a 2-0 lead to give the Copperheads a 4-2 win and a 3-0 stranglehold on the best-of-seven series.
Goals by Scott Shugg and Braden Bain gave the Gens a 2-0 lead that carried them through to the 11-minute mark of the third. This time it was the Copperheads who exploded with three quick goals in a span of 1 1/2 minutes to take the lead, then cap it off with an empty-netter.
"We played a 55-minute game; that's what it came down to," says McMillan of the loss.
The Gens now head to Coaldale Wednesday night, hoping to secure win number two.
"Being down 3-1 is where no team wants to be, especially going back to Coaldale on Wednesday. That's' going to be a task in itself. They have a fantastic crowd and the atmosphere in their rink is one of the best in the league so you also have to fight against that particular thing. We need to make sure everybody is ready to go."