CALGARY - With overtime all but a certainty, Team Alberta opened the Western Canada U16 Challenge Cup with a 4-3 victory over Saskatchewan, thanks to Dylan Holloway’s goal with 2.6 seconds left in regulation.
Alberta jumped out to an early 2-0 lead, but Saskatchewan pulled within one late in the first, and tied it in the dying minutes of the second period. Team Alberta took the lead again in the third, only to see Saskatchewan tie it yet again, setting up the dramatic finish from Holloway.
"I thought we came out really strong in the first period," said Head Coach Bram Stephen. "We were sharp, we were snappy, we were playing hard at both ends of the ice, and we were engaged. It probably went that way until about mid-way through the second, and then we started getting a little bit loose in our structure and discipline, we had to kill off some penalties, and that could’ve been a bit better."
"You’ve got to give Saskatchewan credit, I thought they played a really good third period, they battled back from a deficit a couple of times, and we got some timely goals, obviously," said Stephen. "There’s a lot to work on as far as structure goes and just making sure our group is accountable to eachother, but, you know what, it’s a win, and it puts us in a better situation moving forward."
Captain Peyton Krebs led the way for Team Alberta, scoring two goals and setting up Holloway for the game-winner, earning Player of the Game honours for his efforts. Liam Keeler pitched in a goal and and assist for Alberta, while defender Jake Lee added two helpers.
Taylor Gauthier made 18 saves for Team Alberta, while his counterpart Logan Maier made 22 stops for Saskatchewan.
Logan Barlage was named the Player of the Game for Saskatchewan, who will face Team B.C. Thursday afternoon.
Up next for Team Alberta is Team Manitoba, who fell 7-3 to B.C. on Wednesday afternoon. Game time is 6:30 p.m. at Markin MacPhail Centre at Winsport.