The Warman Peewee AA Wildcats overcame a two-goal deficit late in a playoff game against the West Central Wheat Kings, to earn an 8-7 victory on March 10 in Game 1 of a best-of-three series at the Legends Centre in Warman.
“I’m very proud, they didn’t give up,” said Wildcats coach Cam Kayter. “We were behind in the game right from the start, and so every time we would claw back, we would give up the lead. For us to come back one final time and get the win is exciting.”
With just over two minutes remaining in the third period Warman trailed 7-5, and Carsten Kayter netted a power-play goal on a bullet of a slap shot from the blue line. That goal sparked the Wildcats offensively, as Trae Lees and Riley Ashe scored within 16 seconds of each other, and the Wildcats hung onto the lead to go up 1-0 in the best-of-of three series.
Despite the win, Coach Kayter said it wasn’t Warman’s best effort against a “very good” West Central team, but he was glad the Wildcats pulled it together late in the contest.
“The boys knew it was desperate times and we told them, get the puck to the net, and drive the net,” he said. “When we had opportunities there late in the game, we just put the puck on net, gained that momentum and then just held on for dear life at the end.”
West Central scored consecutive goals within the first four minutes of the opening period to take a 2-0 lead. Kayter said he was surprised that the Wildcats started the game a little flat.
After that second goal, Warman called a time-out, which was an opportunity for the Wildcats to regroup.
“I just told them to relax and there’s lots of time left. We don’t need to get two goals back next shift, let’s just start to win momentum’” Kayter said. “They settled down a little bit and started to move their legs.”
A few minutes after that time-out, Riley Ashe found the back of the net to pull Warman within one goal, and the Wildcats started to get back in to the flow of the game.
The Wildcats scored a power-play goal late in the period and the contest was tied 2-2 after 20 minutes of play.
West Central regained the lead in the middle frame. However, Abinet Klassen and Ashe scored for the Wildcats, and Warman had a narrow 4-3 lead going into the third period.
The Wheat Kings tied it up early in that period, and the Wildcats responded with a goal of their own to regain the lead. West Central ended up scoring three unanswered goals and it looked like the Wheat Kings had comfortable lead late in the game. But the Wildcats made that epic comeback for the win.
This series is Round 3 of the Saskatchewan Peewee AA Hockey Playoffs and Warman has a chance to sweep West Central in Kindersley on March 15. A possible Game 3 is scheduled for March 16 at the Legends Centre.
“We have to make sure we’re ready to go, and then just try to out skate them. They’re a good team, we’re a good team and just go back-and-forth, bury our chances and we’ll see where it goes,” Kayter said.