Chiefs rally late but fall in OT in provincial final

The Calgary Royals nearly learned the hard way Sunday that there’s no such thing as a comfortable cushion. The Royals opened a 3-0 lead over the Red Deer Indy Graphics Chiefs in the final of the Alberta midget AA hockey championship tournament at the Arena when Josh Fletcher scored from the high slot at 7:36 of the third period and were apparently well on their way to capturing the provincial title.

The Calgary Royals nearly learned the hard way Sunday that there’s no such thing as a comfortable cushion.

The Royals opened a 3-0 lead over the Red Deer Indy Graphics Chiefs in the final of the Alberta midget AA hockey championship tournament at the Arena when Josh Fletcher scored from the high slot at 7:36 of the third period and were apparently well on their way to capturing the provincial title.

The Chiefs, though, weren’t done. Far from it.

First, Declan Johnston tallied from a scramble at 8:14, then Lane Sim made it a one-goal game when he buried a rebound at 15:12 and Mack Differenz pulled the hosts even when he converted a cross-crease feed from Tanner Zentner 54 seconds later.

The Royals hung on down the stretch and then got the winning goal from Colton Young at 5:28 of overtime, his rising shot from a sharp angle beating Indy netminder Justin Anderson for a 4-3 victory.

“We’ve been teaching our players to get shots on net from all angles and he (Young) happened to squeak one in there on the top side,” said Royals head coach and Red Deer native Todd Sceviour. “He’s been tremendous for us all tournament and he got that one for us as well.

“We sort of sat back and tried to nurse it to the end. Red Deer being the team that they are, very opportunistic, came back and tied it and we had to go into overtime to try and win this thing.”

Following a scoreless and tight-checking opening period, the Royals struck for two goals in the second stanza as Young dashed end to end, cut across the high slot and wired a shot past Anderson at 11:58, and Braeden Tuck created a turnover at the Calgary blueline and connected on a short-handed breakaway at 17:47.

Fletcher’s goal looked like a back-breaker, but all it did was cue the comeback.

“These have been the cardiac kids all year,” said Chiefs head coach Al Sim.

“It’s been an unbelievable run and we still have something to play for,” he added, in reference to the South Central Alberta League championship.

“When we evaluated and picked these kids in September our goals were to reach the provincial final and have a chance to win a league championship.

“To lose to a great team like the Royals doesn’t make it any better, but it was a good game,” added Sim.

The game was the sixth for each team in a four-day stretch.

“We had back to back games Friday with two and a half hours between them, so that was tiring,” said Sceviour. “These guys were going into overtime today with not a lot of gas in the tank. We had also lost two guys to injury so we had even a shorter bench. But we persevered and got through it.

“These are very even teams. They battled us hard and we battled them hard and were lucky enough to get a few by them. Then they came back and got a few by us. In the end, the next goal wins, and who knows?

“These kids are beat up,” said Sim. “Everyone is playing with injuries. It’s a grind and it take fortitude and the toughest do survive.”

The Chiefs will host the Strathmore Wheatland Chiefs in Games 3 and 4 of the South Central League final Friday and Saturday at the Arena. The best-of-five set is tied 1-1.

“Our message to these guys is that we’re one of two AA teams out of 150 in the province who are still going to play next weekend,” said Sim. “We still have something to play for, and the league is important to us.

“It would be nice to have two, but let’s go get this other championship.”

• The Chiefs reached the championship game with a 4-2 semifinal over the Red Deer Elks Sunday morning, getting goals from Zentner, Differenz, Devon Langelaar and Josh Bussard.

Damon Loiselle and Reid Sterling connected for the Elks, who directed shots at 26 shots at Anderson. Carter Gendreau looked at 25 shots in the Elks net.

The Royals toppled Edmonton Southside 7-4 in the other semifinal.

In pool play Saturday, Indy Graphics suffered their first setback of the tournament after three straight wins with a 4-3 loss to the Spruce Grove Saints.

Keagan Kingwell, with two goals, and Ryan Morrell scored for the Chiefs, who held a 31-24 advantage in shots. Anderson and Geordan Andrew combined to make 20 saves in a losing cause.

Meanwhile, the Elks posted a pair of wins — 5-0 over the Taber Golden Suns and 3-2 over the Peace River Royals— to finish second to the Royals in Pool B with a record of three wins and one loss.

Gendreau turned aside all 15 shots he faced in the win over Taber, while Sterling, Tyler Wall, Austin Lawson, Brady Park and Keenan Scott supplied the goals.

Kobe Scott’s second-period tally was the winner against Peace River. Matthew Froehlick and Sterling also scored for the Elks, who got a 12-save outing from Gendreau.

In other pool games Saturday, Wheatland and Peace River tied 3-3, the Wainwright Polar Kings got past Spruce Grove 5-3, Edmonton Southside was a 6-1 winner over the Northeast Panthers, the Royals hammered Wheatland 8-1 and Southside defeated Wainwright 5-3.

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

Dentists are skills at injections and can help get more Albertans vaccinated, says the Alberta Dental Association and College. (Pxhere)
Use dentists’ injection skills to get more Albertans vaccinated sooner, says association

Dentists can safely give patient injections and want to support the immunization effort

An aggressive arrest by Red Deer RCMP is facing online scrutiny. No charges have been laid and the incident is still under investigation. (Screenshot of YouTube video)
Second video shows moments leading up to violent arrest in Red Deer

Warning: Story and video contain disturbing details. Charges are pending against two… Continue reading

Rocky Mountain House RCMP are investigating a fatal collision involving a pedestrian on Feb. 27. (File photo by Advocate staff)
Rocky Mountain House RCMP investigate fatal pedestrian collision

Collision occured west of Rocky on Highway 11A

A cross-country skier glides along the banks of the Ottawa River in Ottawa on Thursday, Feb. 25, 2021. Canadians across the country can look forward to a mild spring peppered with the odd winter flashback throughout the first part of the season, according to predictions from one prominent national forecaster. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Sean Kilpatrick
Mild spring with some wintry blasts predicted for most of Canada: Weather Network

March will be dramatically warmer through the prairies

Bharat Masrani, CEO, TD Bank Group speaks at the Economic Club of Canada in Toronto on Wednesday, November 1, 2017. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Nathan Denette
Five things to watch for in the Canadian business world in the coming week

Shares in metals and mining companies have rebounded sharply

Red Deer dogs Bunsen and Beaker helped save a missing pet recently. The two dogs have more than 80,000 followers on Twitter. (Contributed photo)
WATCH: Red Deer science dogs help save lost pet

Red Deer science-communicating dogs Bunsen and Beaker helped rescue a missing pet… Continue reading

A ” Justice for Jeff” T-shirt. (Photo submitted)
Rally to be held outside Red Deer courthouse for slain Ponoka man

Sentencing for accused charged with manslaughter with a firearm set for March 4

Team Canada skip Kerri Einarson makes a shot against Team Alberta as second Shannon Birchard, right, and lead Briane Meilleur sweep in the semi-final at the Scotties Tournament of Hearts in Calgary, Alta., Sunday, Feb. 28, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jeff McIntosh
Kerri Einarson wins second straight Canadian women’s curling championship

Einarson and her teammates celebrated Sunday in the silence in an empty arena

Amy Poehler and Tina Fey hosted the Golden Globes on Feb. 28, 2021. (Photo by THE ASSOCIATED PRESS)
With loved ones and pets, Globes winners embrace cozier show

Nicole Kidman and musician-husband Keith Urban got glammed up to sit on their couch

The cast of “Schitt’s Creek” pose for a photo after winning the Award for Best Comedy Series at the Canadian Screen Awards in Toronto on March 31, 2019. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Chris Young
Schitt’s Creek nabs two Golden Globes for its final season

Catherine O’Hara named best television actress in a musical or comedy

Alberta Premier Jason Kenney speaks during a news conference in Edmonton on Feb. 24, 2020. It’s budget day in the province, and Kenney’s United Conservative government is promising more help in the fight against COVID, but more red ink on the bottom line. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jason Franson
Alberta Premier slams vandalism after slur painted on MLA’s office window

EDMONTON — Alberta Premier Jason Kenney is condemning alleged vandalism at the… Continue reading

Canada Pension Plan Investment Board President and Chief Executive Officer Mark Machin waits to appear at the Standing Committee on Finance on Parliament Hill, in Ottawa on Tuesday, November 1, 2016. Executives who engage in so-called "vaccine tourism" show both an ethical disregard for those less fortunate and a surprising lack of business acumen, experts argue. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Adrian Wyld
Vaccine tourism is both unethical and bad for business, experts say

Executives who engage in so-called “vaccine tourism” show both an ethical disregard… Continue reading

Edmonton Oilers' Jesse Puljujarvi (13) and Toronto Maple Leafs' Justin Holl (3) battle in front as goalie Jack Campbell (36) makes the save during second period NHL action in Edmonton on Saturday, February 27, 2021.THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jason Franson
No Matthews, no problem: Minus NHL goal leader, Maple Leafs blank Oilers 4-0

Leafs 4 Oilers 0 EDMONTON — The Maple Leafs knew even with… Continue reading

Leader of the Government in the House of Commons Pablo Rodriguez rises during Question Period in the House of Commons on Parliament Hill in Ottawa, Friday, Nov. 20, 2020. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Justin Tang
Gummed-up bills in House of Commons: harbinger of a federal election?

OTTAWA — All federal party leaders maintain they don’t want an election… Continue reading

Most Read