By Mike Pearson, News staff
Despite giving up the tying goal with just seconds remaining in the game, Mitchell Richardson wasn’t panicking as he headed to the dressing room with his Saltfleet District High School teammates.
Saltfleet appeared headed to a public board city championship in Division 1 boys hockey when the Sherwood Saints scored on a goal mouth scramble to knot the score at 1-1 in Thursday’s game at Mountain Arena.
“We lost all our momentum,” Richardson admitted following the game.
But just 2:16 into a 15-minute overtime period, the Saltfleet player let his actions do the talking.
After intercepting a pass in the neutral zone, Richardson corralled the puck with his glove, crossed the blue line and went five-hole to send his teammates into a frenzy.
After two scoreless periods, the city championship at Dave Andreychuk Mountain Area quickly opened up in the last half of the third. Riley Kunzil’s point shot was tipped home by Saltfleet’s Michael Menicanin to open the scoring.
It looked like the goal might stand as the winner until Sherwood knotted the equalizer with just over a minute left.
“As soon as we came into the change room (before overtime), I told the boys, keep your head up, we’re going to score the next goal,” said Richardson.
Saltfleet coach Paul Pendakis wasn’t expecting to see another overtime thriller, but he’s glad his team pulled out the win. Saltfleet beat the Waterdown Warriors in a tough three-game series, two games to one, with both victories coming in overtime.
“I thought when we were up 1-0 with five minutes left, I though we would go with more of a trap, be more conservative,” said Pendakis. “A few of our guys were trying to do too much in their own end.”
Pendakis was impressed by his team’s disciplined play and solid work ethic.
“I thought we got the better of them for most of the game. They’re a highly skilled team, the coaching staff in phenomenal… It was a hard game,” he said. “In overtime, we knew we had to get it quick.”
Both the Saltfleet boys and girls team now move on to the Southern Ontario Secondary Schools Athletic championship on Monday, (March 3) for a chance to qualify for the provincial championships.
The lady Storm beat Ancaster 3-0 in Monday’s city championship.