The Warman Midget AA Wildcats just fell short in a playoff game against the Unity Lazers, dropping a 5-4 decision in Game 3 of the Centre Four Hockey League semi-finals.
Warman hosted the contest on March 8 and the matchup came right down to the wire as Unity scored the game winner with 21 seconds left in the third period. Warman Wildcats coach Terence Presniak said that it was disappointing to lose in that fashion and he thought that goal could’ve been preventable if Warman would’ve put more pressure on Unity.
“That last goal, it was passive. We could’ve kept it in (the offensive zone) and we didn’t and then they broke down and they got a good shot,” Presniak said.
The Wildcats started the game strong which led to a goal from Logan Campbell, but Warman dropped that intensity and Unity tied the game.
“Once we scored that first goal, we kind of let up and we were passive on our backcheck. The first (Unity) goal was really that. I mean we didn’t backcheck, and one-two-three in the net,” Presniak said.
The game was tied 1-1 after 20 minutes of play. Early in the middle frame, Unity scored on another fast-break to take the lead.
Later in the period, Warman gained momentum on a power-play and the Wildcats capitalized on the opportunity by finding the back of the net. Matthew Conlon was the goal scorer.
The back-and forth affair continued when Unity answered that power-play goal with one of its own, to regain the lead. With just over a minute left in the period, Conlon from behind
the net, attempted a shot from a very tough angle and the puck somehow found the back of the net.
Unity regained the one goal lead in the final frame. However, the Wildcats again responded and tied the game. Campbell scored his second goal by going top shelf.
After the go-ahead goal from Unity, the Wildcats did have a quality scoring chance in the final 12 seconds of the game after winning a faceoff in their offensive zone, but the Unity goalie made a key save.
In Game 2 of the series Presniak said the Wildcats played some of their best hockey but he saw a lot of inconsistency in Game 3.
“There was a little too much individual effort, too much puck watching and it burnt us,” he said.
Unity has a 2-1 lead in the best-of-five series and the Lazers can clinch it in Game 4, which is in Unity on Saturday, March 9.
Warman is now in a win-or-go home situation and Presniak hopes the Wildcats can regroup. He said Game 4 is going to come down to who out-works the opponent.
“I feel if we play our best game, just like we did in game 2, I think we’re the stronger team. It’s going to take work, but if we do that I’m pretty confident that we could come home for Game 5 . But we’ve got to win Game 4 first,” Presniak said.
Game 5, if necessary is scheduled for Tuesday March 13 at the Legends Centre. Game time is at 7:45 p.m.