It really is amazing how this series has gone back and forth.
Game 1 - Wolves win by three after Terriers go away after first goal.
Game 2 - Terriers win by three after Ice Wolves go away after first goal.
Game 3 - Ice Wolves score first, alternate goals until winning in OT.
Game 4 - Terriers score first, alternate goals until winning in OT.
Game 5 - Terriers up 3-1 take undisciplined penalties and Ice Wolves win 4-3.
Game 6 - Ice Wolves up 3-1, penalty problems and Terriers win 4-3, in OT.
SERIOUSLY!!!!! It's down right ridiculous. The only problem is, one team won't have the chance to match after game seven on Tuesday. Getting back to the events of the sixth game.
The first period was all about the goalies. They were excellent, standing on their heads to keep it a scoreless tie. The second period, once again, Clarke Breitkreuz comes through for Yorkton. He's definitely my pick for playoff MVP for Yorkton. Without him in this series, Yorkton doesn't make it past five games. He's single-handedly carrying the Terriers on his back towards the deciding game. The Ice Wolves tied it shortly after that on a bomb of a shot from Skyler Hladun, but the second period isn't where the focus of this game lies.
The Ice Wolves were trapped in their own end for the first few minutes of the third as the Terriers brought every gun to bare on the Wolves. That said, first real time up the ice, the Wolves score. The play wasn't without controversy and I've gotta say, I think Marc-Andre Carre was just a fraction offside when Travis Eggum crossed the line. Unlike the linesman, though, I got to watch the Access 7 feed a few times. Regardless, La Ronge scored and added to the lead, looking like they were poised to win a second Credit Union Cup in Yorkton. After Eggum scored the insurance marker, the Wolves were rolling. They picked up another few chances and Devin Peters was stellar.
Then the hit that, depending on how this series goes, could be remembered for a long time. Justin Ducharme took Kurtis Decker very hard into the boards, it wasn't a malicious hit, but in my opinion a bad hit. Decker apparently suffered a broken knee-cap on the play, which must have happened as he went down because it wasn't like Ducharme took him out at the knees. The assessment of the major is up in the air for some people, but I don't have a problem with it being assessed.
The Ice Wolves were actually well on their way to killing the major, had they done so, it would likely have been series over. However, bad bounce number whatever for the Ice Wolves this series came off of Adam Bartko's pads, hit the penalty killer in front who was attempting to block the initial shot and rebounded right back into the net. I've never actually seen a play like that, mainly because the Ice Wolves forward (think it was Graham Smerek, could be wrong) was reasonably far from the net. He wasn't right smack dab in front of Bartko, but the puck just had enough to come back and Bartko wasn't ready for it and somehow the puck slipped through the five hole.
Like in Game 5 for La Ronge, that one goal was all the Terriers needed and they kept coming. After Rhyse Dieno had a breakaway chance go just wide of the net, the Terriers were on a roll. Eventually they evened the game as everyone was jamming at a puck to the side of the net for a good 5-10 seconds. Not sure how the referee could keep sight of the puck with all that action, and I was even more surprised when it ended up in the net. Tie game. The Ice Wolves regained their composure into the final minutes and came close a couple times, as did the Terriers. Both goalies once again were solid. The death knoll for the Ice Wolves hopes of raising the cup on Sunday came when Travis Eggum got his stick up on a Terriers defenceman. Four minutes penalty, not quite the same extent that happened when Eggum had his face rearranged by Jeremy Boyer in Game 4, but enough to draw a little bit of blood and the extra time.
At this point, the Ice Wolves penalty killers had to be just gassed, and though they did fairly well in the early going of the overtime period, eventually Craig Eisenhut found room in the slot and beat Bartko with a very nice top shelf wrister. A little bit of redemption for Eisenhut after being unable to convert on the penalty shot in Game 5.
Crushing loss for the Ice Wolves who could probably almost feel that cup in their hands. Now, what I'm sure is a very annoyed Ice Wolves team will have to get it done on home ice in the dice roll that is Game 7. It always amazes me when the 58 game regular season and 16 games of the playoffs (for La Ronge) comes down to just one contest to decide the victor. Kind of fitting though, that the series will end 4-3, basically in overtime. Game 7's can kind of be a let down in my experience. They often result in stretched out scores because of the waves of emotion that characterize the game. However, with how this series has gone, I wouldn't be surprised if it was a close one.
Three Stars - As selected by Braden Malsbury of CTV Yorkton
1. Craig Eisenhut - YKTN - GWG - A big moment for Eisenhut, winning the game. Like I said, a little bit of redemption for the Terriers forward. He played a solid game, had a bunch of chances and seems to be picking it up when it matters most.
2. Clarke Breitkreuz - YKTN - 2 G - He's carrying the Terriers on his back. Too bad for Yorkton he'll likely be a Humboldt Bronco next season. Regardless, this season, he's making his time with the Terriers count. Expect him to factor in big time if the Terriers steal a game seven victory out of La Ronge.
3. Adam Bartko - LR - 35/39 Svs - This game doesn't go to OT without Bartko's play late in the game. He nearly stole a victory for the Ice Wolves, making numerous fantastic saves. It just wasn't quite enough and the Wolves need him to do it again on Tuesday.
Game 7, as previously mentioned, goes at 7:30 at the Mel. It should be a pretty darn good game. Home ice in this series hasn't been too big of a factor so far, but I wouldn't underestimate the sheer volume of the Mel. Ice Wolves need to get on the board first, as they haven't done it in three games.
I'll have a preview up before the game on Tuesday.