Fort McMurray, AB – The Whitecourt Wolverines punched their ticket to the Alberta Junior Hockey League's North Division Final with a thrilling 4-3 overtime win in game seven against the Fort McMurray Oil Barons.
Yannik Bertrand opened the scoring for the Wolverines just over five minutes into the first period as he raced in on a breakaway at the conclusion of a penalty kill and ripped a low shot past Oil Baron goalie Eric Szudor. The Oil Barons responded quickly on a goal from Reed Morison as he was set up by Curtis Roach just 32 seconds after the game's opening goal. Liam Motley would restore the Wolverines lead just prior to the 10-minute mark of the opening frame as he jammed in a rebound off a Jude Butler shot on a power play.
The score remained 2-1 in favor of the visitors until the late stages of the second period where again the teams would score in quick succession. Liam Motley increased the Wolverines lead to 3-1 with his second of the night as he was set up on a two-on-one rush by Yannik Bertrand. Just 29 seconds later the Oil Barons cut the deficit back to one on a goal from their captain Shane Fraser.
The Oil Barons would get the game evened up early in the third period as Reed Morison got a seeing-eye shot through a crowd in front of Wolverine goalie Xavier Potvin. Both teams would have their chances to end the game in regulation but neither Xavier Potvin or Eric Szudor would budge sending the game to overtime for the third time in the series.
In the extra frame, the Wolverines controlled the play and just past the midway point, Yannik Bertrand skated onto a loose puck in the left-wing circle and fired a sharp angle shot past Szudor and into the back of the net to send the Wolverines onto the North Division final.
The Wolverines were given some pregame inspiration as injured forward Estian Coetzee paid a visit to the team prior to the start of the game just hours after being released from the hospital in Edmonton.
The Wolverines open up the North Division Final on Friday night in Spruce Grove against the Saints.
Whitecourt Wolverines associate coach Shawn Martin discusses his team's gut-check victory:
WCT Goal – 5:36 – Yannik Bertrand(3) from Matthew Monk (EV)
FM Goal – 6:08 – Reed Morison(6) from Curtis Roach and Liam Izyk (EV)
WCT Goal – 9:54 – Liam Motley(3) from Matthew Monk and Jude Butler (PP)
WCT Goal – 17:55 – Liam Motley(4) from Yannik Bertrand and Brayden Richards (EV)
FM Goal – 18:24 – Shane Fraser(3) from Will Conley and Domenico Argento (EV)
FM Goal – 3:05 – Reed Morison(7) from Jack Hamly and JC Thivierge(EV)
WCT Goal – 10:11 – Yannik Bertrand(4) from Liam Motley and Jake Hobson (EV)
Shots – WCT 38 (13-8-11-6) FM 34 (10-15-7-2)
Power plays – WCT 1/4 FM 0/4
WCT – Xavier Potvin (7-3) 31sv/34sh
FM – Eric Szudor (2-1) 34sv/38sh
Three Star Selection:
1. WCT-Yannik Bertrand
2. WCT-Liam Motley
3. FM-Reed Morison
Danali's Handyman and Rental Services Hardest Working Wolverine: Xavier Potvin.
Recap presented by: