Magnusson's goal with nine seconds left puts Midget AAs on brink of title
The Moose Jaw Midget AA Warriors were four minutes away from having their season end.
© Times-Herald photo by Matthew Gourlie
Moose Jaw Midget AA Warriors goalie Thomas Spence looks to turn away Turner Ripplinger from the Regina Capitals in Game 1 action of their South Saskatchewan Midget Hockey League final series Saturday in Regina.
Now they're 60 minutes away from a championship.
Bhody Magnusson ripped a shot into the top corner past Regina goalie Shaun Fleming with nine seconds left to give the Warriors a 4-3 win over the Regina Capitals The win evens their South Sask. Midget AA Hockey League championship series at 1-1.
"It was a pretty cool experience," said Magnusson. "I was pretty happy. I just shot it on net and hoped for the best."
The deciding third game will be played Tuesday night in Regina at the Co-Operators Centre to decide the league champion. Regina won Game 1 6-0 at home Saturday night.
Warriors 4 Capitals 3
The Warriors trailed 3-2 entering the third period.
"It was nice to see them to come back and pull it off," said Warriors head coach Darren Martens. "Basically I said, 'there's 20 minutes left and this is your season. You have to leave it all out there. If not you're going home.'"
Though they left it late, the players were confident their persistence would be rewarded.
"We knew we were working hard. We just needed a lucky bounce and we got a couple," said Magnusson.
Ty Anderson tied the game when he went hard to the net and deflected a Cole Allan shot in with four minutes left. It was the second goal of the game for Anderson who is more often deployed as a defenceman.
"I've been switching him back and forth," said Martens. "I wanted a little more offensive power in front. He has a super, quick shot. You saw that on the first goal. I wanted him up front for a little more offence."
In the dying seconds Brett Reidy won a draw and Magnusson — the team's leading scorer with 54 points in 26 regular season games — had room to let his shot fly from the high slot.
The Warriors nearly didn't need the late dramatics. Anderson opened the scoring in the first period and Rylan Blacklaws doubled their lead early in the second period.
The Capitals scored three power play goals in little more than 10 minutes to take a 3-2 lead after 40 minutes.
"We have a problem staying out of the penalty box against these guys and they seem to have a really good power play. They score all of their goals on the power play," said Martens. "Playing five-on-five, we really do well against them, but we don't seem to play enough five-on-five against them."
Magnusson felt he and his teammates were more physical than they had been in the opening game and went to the net harder.
"We have to play a physical game against these guys," said Martens. "They shy away form it a little bit because they have a lot of first-year guys. It helps us when we play physical — within the rules. Sometimes we get our hands up a little high and take penalties and that causes us some grief.
"But when we stay within the rules, it really helps our game. Our team has a lot of football guys and they get into the game when they're hitting."
Jory Litt-Jukes made 26 saves in goal for the Warriors.
Capitals 6 Warriors 0
The Warriors killed off a two-man disadvantage for 1:25 less than four minutes into the game Saturday.
While it was a big kill, it was a bad omen of what was to come.
Turner Ripplinger — who attended training camp with the Moose Jaw Warriors — opened the scoring for the Capitals with an even-strength goal. The Capitals then added five power play goals to win Game 1 in a rout.
"I don't remember us ever playing that bad for 60 minutes," said Martens. "The Capitals played poor and we actually played poorer. Both teams are better than that. They won 6-0, but we didn't come to play as well as we could and they didn't their best game either."
Eight of the Capitals' nine goals in the series have come on the power play. The Capitals were 5-for-11 on the power play on the night.
Thomas Spence did what he could to keep his team in the game in goal for the Warriors.