Canadians win overtime thriller

The Fort Frances Canadians edged the International Falls Broncos junior varsity squad 5-4 last night in a seesaw battle that required overtime to decide it at the ’52 Canadians Arena.
Ryan Shortreed was the hero, deflecting Jared Baker’s point shot past Bronco goalie Mike Hart with 2:04 left in the extra session.
Assistant captain Matthew Beck was credited with an assist on the game-winner.
The Canadians struggled to finish periods last night, allowing the Broncos to score in the final minute of play in all three—including Danny Eldien’s game-tying goal with just 15 seconds to go in regulation time.
Penalties also continue to plague the Fort Frances squad.
The Canadians appeared to have all the momentum in the early going last night but a slashing penalty to Matthew Beck helped shift the tide in the Broncos’ favour.
The Broncos continued to pressure the Canadians in the offensive zone and finally were rewarded when Rocky LaBlanc’s wraparound attempt ended up on teammate Justin Mayer’s stick.
Mayer quickly lifted a backhand that beat Canadians’ goalie Justin Pryde high and to the glove side.
Tyler Harris then tied the game with 1:14 left in the first period on a great individual effort.
After he forced a turnover deep in the Bronco zone, Harris skated to Hart’s right and then fired a wrist shot into the top corner of the net from a near impossible angle.
However, the Broncos regained their advantage with just three seconds remaining before the first intermission when Jacob Casareto one-timed a Merle Jesme dish past Pryde.
Jeff Hofius earned the second assist on the play.
The Canadians pressured the Broncos right from the opening face-off to start the second period and quickly were rewarded when captain George Ossachuk stuff home a wraparound attempt.
Kyle Herr and Harris drew the assists.
The Canadians then took their first lead of the game on Ossachuk’s second goal of the period.
Andrew Maki fired a point shot that Hart could not handle cleanly and Ossachuk was in perfect position to fire the puck past the sprawling Bronco goalie to give his team a 3-2 lead.
But for the second time in as many periods, the Broncos would score in the final minute of play—this time with 38 seconds to go.
Hofius’ long clearing attempt sprung LaBlanc on a breakaway. The Bronco forward made the most of the opportunity, beating Pryde high and to the glove side to tie the game once again.
Tensions, which had been simmering all game, boiled over early in the third period. Josh Scott received a double minor for spearing and the Broncos wasted no time taking advantage of the prolonged man-advantage.
After Casareto and Jesme’s shots were blocked by Canadian defencemen, Eldien finally fired the puck past Pryde to give his team a 4-3 lead.
The Canadians again would tie the game, though, this time on a power play of their own.
With LaBlanc in the box serving a double minor for high-sticking, Maki hit Ossachuk with a pass deep in the Bronco zone. The Canadians’ captain circled behind the goal before passing the puck out front to a wide-open Harris, who beat Hart with a backhand.
The Canadians appeared to seal the win with 1:48 to play when Brendon Legarie stuffed a loose puck past Hart to give the home-team a 5-4 lead.
Shortreed and Beck picked up the assists.
Eldien’s second goal of the period then tied the game—setting up Shortreed’s overtime heroics.
The Canadians see their next action tomorrow (Feb. 10) when they travel to Grand Rapids.