There was no one else the Blackfalds Bulldogs would rather have with the game on his stick in a crucial situation than Tyler Wallace.
The 20-year-old forward is fourth in the Alberta Junior Hockey League in goals with 26 and came up clutch for his team Tuesday night.
Just thirty seconds into three-on-three overtime at Eagle Builders Centre Wallace picked the top corner on a two-on-one rush to pick up the 3-2 win against the Drumheller Dragons.
“When Tyler Wallace has the puck in the slot he’s one of the best shooters in the league,” said Bulldogs owner and head coach Doug Quinn. “He scored and we’re happy with the win.”
Just before Wallace’s heroics in the extra period, goaltender Matthew Hennessey came up with a big save to keep the Bulldogs in it. The Warman, Sask. native was impressive in the win and made 29 saves in the effort.
In Quinn’s mind, Hennessey has been in the zone since the beginning of December.
“He got off to a little bit of a slow start but since December he’s been really strong. You can just see he’s racking up the wins and save percentage,” Quinn said.
“He’s really settling in and he’s been in this league for three years. He’s developing into one of the top goalies in the league.”
In the first period, the Bulldogs scored just under two minutes into the game to take an early 1-0 lead off the stick of forward Kurt Gurkan. Captain Brett Meerman found Gurkan in front who fired it into the back of the net.
However, the Dragons didn’t let it rattle them. With just under seven minutes left in the opening period, forward Noah Danielson got the equalizer to head into the intermission 1-1.
In the middle frame, the Dragons struck first early in the period scored by Danielson for his second of the game at the 1:41 mark.
Just over three minutes after that, Gurkan sniped his second tally of the game for his fourth of the season off the pass from Carter Patterson.
After a scoreless third period that saw the Bulldogs kill a four-minute penalty, the two teams needed extra time to determine the winner.
Wallace scored to lift his team to their third straight victory.
“I was happy,” continued Quinn. “Certainly it was probably a little bit like a playoff game. We had some trouble with their forecheck and they were turning a lot of pucks over.
“I thought we adjusted in the third period and we had a great penalty kill at the end. That could have been the difference right there but Drumheller definitely came to play today and they worked hard.”
The Bulldogs have now won five of their last six games and are tied for second place in the AJHL’s South Division. The win against the Dragons was important because Drumheller is just eight points behind Blackfalds in fourth place.
Next up for the Bulldogs is a matchup with the league-best Brooks Bandits on Friday at the Centennial Regional Arena at 7 p.m.