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Story by Christian J. Stewart (ISN)

With Files by ISN Jr. Reporters Skylar Craig and Mike Beelby, Photos by Richard Hyde

Sidney, BC (ISN) – Saanich Brave Shawn McBride had a two-goal evening Friday, but it was his assist on a picture-perfect goal by Ty Jones at 1:10 of the first overtime period that was the highlight, giving the Braves a 5-4 win over the Peninsula Panthers in VIJHL semi-final action at Panorama Leisure Centre in Sidney.

The Panthers were in control for the entire first period until the Brave’s McBride managed to sneak the puck past Panthers starting goaltender Stephen Heslop in a tussle in front of the net with seven minutes left in the period.

As in Game 2 in Saanich, the Braves were a little undisciplined, taking the only two penalties of the frame, and while they effectively killed off the first, the Panther’s Josh Bloomenthal (#29) tied up the scoring on the Panther’s second power play of the night.

Braves attacker Matt Biagioni slips past Panthers D-Men Jake Bryan and Brock Dodsworth in a frantic, fast paced game from both sides. Three periods of end-to-end action were enjoyed by all who attended (Photo by Richard Hyde).

In the second period, the Panther’s began strong, peppering Saanich starter Tanner McGaw, until the tide was stemmed a bit at the 5:47 mark, when the Panther’s took their first and only penalty of the night. The man advantage did not help, as they were unable to get many shots on net, and those that they did, were stopped easily by Heslop.

The Panther’s on the other hand, continued to make the Brave’s pay for their undisciplined play, as at the 16:18 mark of the second period, the Panther’s Dane Gibson produced another Peninsula power-play goal, this time on a two man advantage, leading the Panthers into the third period ahead 2-1.

Saanich’s Shawn McBride dodges the Panther’s Cole Glover en-route to sneaking the puck past Panthers goalie Stephen Heslop near the end of the first period (Photo by Richard Hyde).

The Braves turned things around big time in the third period as just over two minutes in, Sam McMullen (#16) tied the score at two, as he cut across in front of the net and shot it past Heslop.

This goal did not go unanswered by the Panthers, as just under five minutes later, David Stephens restored the one goal lead with a beauty of a shot from the hash marks after two nice saves from Brave’s goalie McGaw.

The Panther’s David Stevens eyes up his options before letting a shot go from the Hash Marks to give the Panthers their third goal of the game (Photo by Richard Hyde).

The Brave’s kept battling though, ultimately firing 17 shots in total at Heslop in the third, and at 8:28 mark, McBride received a pass from Saanich Captain Jones and scored, tying the game again at 3-3.

The Braves then took their first lead at the 12:58 mark when Nick Vanstone snagged a beautiful pass from Sam McMullen and from the side of the net, shelfed it high behind Heslop.

With time dying down, and Peninsula on yet another power-play thanks to a Brave penalty at the 17:42 mark, the Panther’s appeard to score the tying goal, as the Brave’s Brandon Parmar dove into the crease in superman like fashion to bat the puck away from the goal-line, knocking the net off it’s moorings in the process. The Panther’s felt that the puck had crossed the line before Parmar cleared it away and before the net came off, however the officials ruled otherwise and the Brave’s lead stayed at one.

The Panther’s Chris McDonald let’s a slap-shot go in the dying minutes of the third period Friday (Photo by Richard Hyde).

After another stressful minute, the Panthers pulled their goalie for an extra attacker and managed to produce a well-deserved goal, their third of the evening on the power-play, tying the score up with exactly one minute left on a pretty two-on-one scoring play that saw the Panther’s Stephens carry the puck down the ice and slip a beautiful centering pass to Tyler Porteous who finished off the play.

The overtime period came and went quickly as just 1:10 into the 10 minute session, Shawn McBride picked up a loose puck off of Panthers Captain Jake Bryan and found a wide open Jones at the side of the net who made no mistake in scoring his second Braves O.T. winner of the playoffs and giving the Braves the dramatic 5-4 victory.

The Saanich Braves celebrate the game winning goal in overtime by Sanich Captain Ty Jones (Photo by Richard Hyde).

The Braves will look to take a 3-1 lead over the Panthers in Game 4, which goes Monday night at Panorama at 7:30 pm. Game 5 is Wednesday night at Saanich, with a start time of 8:30pm (Yes that time is correct).