For those with weak hearts, the Hants Exhibition Arena might not have been the place for you Sunday afternoon. After taking a 3-1 lead, the Avon View Avalanche Sr. Boys hockey team was forced to rally from a 4-3 deficit against Parkview High Education Centre, from Bridgewater.
With 2:37 to play, Avon View's Matt Brison scored the tying goal to force the game into overtime.
It took double overtime and a shoot-out before the winner of the Western Zone Senior Boys Division 1 Hockey Regionals could be decided.
The game-tying goal developed with some great heads up hockey by Carter Swain, who fed Brison in the clear. Swain and Brison showed great hustle on the play to put AVHS in the position for the tying goal.
Until that point in the third period, both teams played a game of give and take, and Brandon Wile had to come up with some big saves for AVHS.
Wile came up with two huge saves after the tying goal by Brison and then another on a hard wrist shot from just in front of the net with 23 seconds to play.
The first overtime period, which began with the teams putting four skaters aside on the ice per NSAAF rules, was not overly suspenseful until Parkview drew a slashing penalty with 2:25 to play in the five-minute overtime.
The second overtime was more exciting as the teams did not appear quite as tense, knowing that one goal would send them to the provincials.
Parkview was handed a two-minute unintentional head contact penalty, which put four AVHS skaters to Parkview's three. Parkview then took another penalty after Matt Lahey was tripped. Avon View was up two players until there were 18 seconds remaining in the second five-minute overtime.
In the shoot-out, Wile stood on his head making four consecutive saves including one where the Parkview shooter crashed right into him. Meanwhile, Avon View's Ben Nelson and Trevor House both found the right formula for beating the Parkview goaltender. Both skaters made exceptional plays to each side of the goaltender before scoring low on him both times.
The game's scoring opened early in the first period as House took a pass from Nelson and got the puck to Anders Langerkvist, the school's Swedish exchange student. Langerkvist put the puck in the net for an early 1-0 lead.
Mike Lawrence then took a great shot forcing Parkview's goaltender to come up with a huge pad save. Only a minute or so later, Lawrence rushed back down the ice to block a shot in his own end.
Parkview tied the game 1-1 with 5:42 to play in the opening period on a shot from the point while Wile was screened.
Nelson put Avon View in front 2-1 on a great end-to-end rush as he ripped a hard shot from 15 feet out to beat the Parkview goaltender cleanly. Lawrence got an assist on Nelson's goal.
Swain made it 3-1 Avalanche on a breakaway when he shot the puck, rang it off the crossbar before it bounded back behind the goaltender who fell on it and pushed it into his own net. Brett Wallace and Nick Rafuse picked up assists with 5:41 to play in the middle period.
Wile did not stand much of a chance to block the second Parkview goal as players were around him like a herd of wild boars.
The tying goal for Parkview came with the teams playing four-on-four but the Parkview defender skated down the right hand side, shoved an AVHS player out of the way, and scored. Parkview took the lead 4-3 with 1:35 remaining on a double minor to the Avalanche's Nick Rafuse who had been sent off for head contact.
With the win, the Avalanche advance to the Nova Scotia School Athletic Federation's championship tournament March 24-26 at Centennial Arena in Kentville.
AVHS versus KES
In earlier tournament action, in the second game of the tournament Thursday night, Avon View was in great form as they defeated King's-Edgehill 6-3. Nelson was on fire with an exceptionally strong game, scoring three times, while Lahey, House and Swain added singles. Wile made 32 of a possible 35 saves. Avon View outshot KES 36-35. Isaac Bridge scored two for Kings, one of which was a short-handed goal. John Mason tallied the other goal for KES. Avon View led 2-0 after the first period, 3-1 after two periods, jumped in front 5-1 in the third before settling for the 6-3 win.
Parkview 3 Horton 2 (OT) - Thursday
AVHS 6 KES 3 - Thursday
KES 4 Horton 3 - Friday
Horton 7 AVHS 2 - Friday
Parkview 4 KES 1 - Saturday
AVHS 6 Parkview 2 - Saturday
AVHS 5 Parkview 4 (Double OT and Shoot-out) - Sunday afternoon