AMHERST, N.Y. -- Seven-point-two seconds.
That was the difference between Chicago Mission or HoneyBaked winning the title at the Toyota-USA Hockey Youth Tier I 14U National Championships.
HoneyBaked (Mich.) scored with that much time left in regulation and then got the game winner 49 seconds into the second overtime to win the tightly contested, thrilling finale.
“It was such an amazing hockey game,” HomeyBaked coach Trevor Edwards said. “We knew what a great team Chicago Mission were. The season series was 3-3. Really a battle. We knew what we were going to get from them.”
What they got was an up and down, back and forth defensive affair with outstanding saves by both netminders who combined to give up zero goals until 3:18 remained in regulation.
Chicago struck first.
Zach Dubinsky brought the puck down the right side, but he appeared to run out of room. However, he had just enough space to slide the puck just inside the opposite post for a goal.
It appeared as if that goal would be the only one of the game ... until 7.2 seconds left.
After barely keeping the puck in the zone, HoneyBaked managed to get the puck in the slot area, where Calen Kiefiuk found an opening over the goalie’s right shoulder.
“We kept the puck in at the point,” Edwards said. “When it went down low, Mathieu [de St Phalle] won the puck race and got it back out to the slot. I saw Kiefiuk take the shot. If there is one guy who was going to put the puck in the net right there, it was going to be Cal. He’s a pure goal scorer.”
Edwards admitted it wasn’t exactly a set play.
“That was a complete scramble,” he said. “That was desperation mode. That was ‘Get pucks to the net and be ready to shoot.’
“The puck bounced on us, and we were lucky to keep it in the zone and make the play.”
After de St Phalle made that play in the corner, he became the hero in overtime.
De St Phalle described the goal that gave his team the title.
“My linemate, Max Ellis, took a shot from the point,” he said. “It kind of slowed up a little bit. I turned around and slid back in five-hole.”
The change of speed seemed to fool Chicago’s goalie, causing him to be off balance.
“We managed to make the plays when we needed to, obviously,” Edwards said. “Our goaltender came up huge for us in the first half of the game. What an end to the season. I just couldn’t be happier for the kids.”
Story from Red Line Editorial, Inc.