McHugh's RiverDogz player Andrew Burden, right, protects the ball against North Shore Tin Men's Ronnie Hogan during men's ball hockey playoff action Thursday night at the Pepsi Centre. — Star photo by Chris Quigley
When Kyle Murrin tied the game with under two minutes remaining, the McHugh’s RiverDogz began to see their whole season flash before their eyes.
When overtime began, the North Shore Tin Men — a team that hadn’t won a game until the final night of the regular campaign on July 20 — had the second-seeded RiverDogz pinned in their own end for the first minute or two.
Then Micky Lushman broke through with a scoring chance and made no mistake, burying it by Tin Men goalie Peter Parsons and giving his side the 2-1 triumph, forcing the Corner Brook Molson Ball Hockey League quarter-final series to a third and deciding game on Sunday.
“It gives us a big momentum boost,” said RiverDogz captain Andrew Burden. “But it also puts them in a lose-or-die situation now too. They were up one, so they’re going to be hungry.
“Both teams want it, it’s going to be a good game.”
Les Pennell provided the other goal for the RiverDogz in the win, while Ricky Lushman backstopped the victory between the pipes.
The game’s opening goal didn’t come until the 8:57 mark of the second half, when Pennell scored from Burden to temporarily put his side up.
Then, with 1:50 to go in the game, Murrin tied it. Josh Newman drew the helper.
Micky Lushman’s overtime winner came at 12:03, with Burden again assisting on the goal.
The RiverDogz finished the regular season at 8-3-1, a far cry from the 1-10-1 record accumulated by the Tin Men.
Clearly, those numbers are now meaningless.
“They’re a different team, totally,” said Burden of the Tin Men. “They’ve definitely changed their attitude towards the game. They’re playing to win now.”
When the Tin Men tied it up late, the pressure was placed squarely on the RiverDogz — and it showed.
“Everyone was just screeching, ‘We’re falling apart,’” said Burden. “Just one shot, that’s all it takes to lose. It could have went either way.”
The following are summaries of the other two quarter-final playoff games on Thursday night:
Macavery’s 5, AJ’s 1
Kristian Kavli, Isiah Simms, Ian Skinner, Jake Milley and Josh Skinner lit the lamp for Macavery’s as they evened the best-of-three series at one game apiece.
Travis Young buried the lone goal in the losing cause.
Matt Hunt outdueled Dale Wells in net.
Molson Luxury Limo Rangers 2, Gros Morne Wildlife Museum Gulls 0
Joey Bennett and Brian White scored second-half goals for the Rangers as they blanked the Gulls to oust them from the playoffs.
Mark Gillis picked up the shutout in goal, while Rob Roberts suffered the defeat.