(ISN) – The Fraser Valley Thunderbirds staved off elimination on Saturday afternoon and forced a decisive Game 3 on Sunday morning in their BC Major Midget League quarter-final series against the Cariboo Cougars.
The Thunderbirds scored twice in the third to secure a 4-2 win at Kin 1.
Steven Jandric and Joel Patsey scored for the Cougars. Nate Castonguay, Nic Ponak, David Padgham and Noah Wiebe replied for the Thunderbirds. Griffin Outhouse made 15 saves for the Cougars, while Paul Tucek made 25 stops and withstood a desperate attempt by the Cougars to even the score late.
With the game knotted at two goals apiece Padgham took advantage of a failed clearing attempt in the Cougars’ zone to score what turned out to be the game winner at 11:10 of the third. Brett Clayton had the lone assist.
The Cougars pressed hard for the equalizer, but it never materialized and Wiebe iced it with an empty netter with less than a second to play.
The Cougars trailed 2-1 heading into the third, but were granted a great chance to tie it up with a lengthy two-man advantage after the Thunderbirds were called for a pair of major penalties in the dying minutes of the second. The opportunity did not go to waste as Patsey blasted a shot from the point past Tucek. Mitchell Williams and Justin Almeida picked up the assists.
Jandric opened the scoring with a highlight reel goal at 10:30 of the opening period. He stripped a Thunderbirds’ player along the boards in the offensive zone, walked around another defender and slid the puck past Tucek after freezing him with a deke.
The Thunderbirds got back on even terms less than two minutes later as Castonguay converted on by two-on-one rush. He elected to shoot rather than pass and then found just enough room in the five-hole. Noah Wiebe and David Padgham had the assists.
Ponak gave the Thunderbirds their first lead of the series at 15:51 of the second. Danny Choi sprung Ponak on a breakaway just after the forward stepped out of the penalty box. Ponak lifted one off the cross-bar and in past Outhouse.
Game 3 is 10 a.m. on Sunday at Kin 1.