With the championship series well underway in each of the three CHL leagues, and the Memorial Cup around the corner, we look back at 10 of the craziest games from the playoff season so far.
10. Sault Ste. Marie @ Owen Sound, Round 2, Game 6: 1-0 Attack
Both teams were amongst the top four in the OHL in terms of goals scored, averaging well over four per game in the regular season. They also combined for more than 70 shots per game in regular season play. One team had at least four goals in each of the previous five games of the series. Game 6 even featured a combined six power plays and 65 shots, yet Nick Suzuki’s second period marker was the one and only goal scored in the game, the series clincher for the Attack.
9. Val d’Or @ Saint John, Round 2, Game 1: 2-1 Sea Dogs
It’s not often a losing goalie gets first star in the opponent’s home building, but that was the case in Game 1 of the Val-d’Or-Saint John series. The Foreurs upset Shawinigan in Round 1 and were rewarded with a series against the top-seeded Sea Dogs. Through two periods, Saint John held a 39-11 shots on goal edge, but trailed 1-0. Before the midway point of the third period, Spencer Smallman tied it, eventually sending the game to overtime. Just before the midway mark of the extra frame, Flyers prospect Samuel Dove-McFalls beat Etienne Montpetit on the Sea Dogs’ 68th shot of the game. Saint John held Val d’Or to just 14 shots in the 2-1 victory, as first star Montpetit made 66 saves in the loss.
8. London @ Erie, Round 2, Game 1: 2-0 Knights
The Otters came out flying at home against their nemesis, outshooting the Knights 15-3 in the first period, but couldn’t solve Calgary Flames prospect Tyler Parsons. More of the same in the second, where Erie had a 13-6 shots on goal edge. However, two of the six shots ended up behind Otters netminder Troy Timpano. Trailing 2-0 going into the third, Erie would not be discouraged and continued to pepper Parsons with 18 more shots, while only allowing three more London shots. Erie outshot London 46-12, yet lost Game 1, 2-0.
7. Hamilton @ Kingston, Round 1, Game 2: 5-4 Bulldogs
If you looked at the box score, you wouldn’t have predicted the winner of this game. Kingston fired 39 shots to Hamilton’s 23. The Frontenacs won 47 of the 74 face offs (63.5 per cent) and scored the lone power play goal. The Fronts lead 2-0 through one period and then a shootout broke out. Just 10 seconds into the second period, Hamilton’s Matt Luff got the Bulldogs on the board and before the five-minute mark, the game was tied. The teams exchanged blows and capped a seven-goal second period with Hamilton up 5-4. The Fronts went on to outshoot the Bulldogs 19-4 in the final frame, but couldn’t get one past Dawson Carty, who led his team to a 2-0 series edge.
6. Lethbridge @ Red Deer, Round 1, Game 3: 4-3 Rebels, 2OT
Brent Sutter said he wouldn’t forgo the future to go overboard in building a powerhouse Memorial Cup team in 2016 when the Rebels hosted. That philosophy allowed Sutter’s Red Deer squad to make it into the 2017 dance, having to face the hard-charging Lethbridge Hurricanes. Lethbridge erased a 1-0 Red Deer lead with the next three goals, one in each of the first, second and third periods for a 3-1 lead. On a power play late in the third, Brandon Hagel scored to bring Red Deer within a goal. Less than three minutes later, with the net empty, Lane Zablocki’s second of the game tied it for Red Deer. The first overtime decided nothing, but just 48 seconds into the second OT Evan Polei lifted the home team to victory. Polei went on to score the game-winner in Game 4 as well, but the Hurricanes eventually prevailed in the series. Game 3 featured a combined 101 shots on goal, three power play goals, and three separate three-point performances.
5. Mississauga @ Erie, Round 4, Game 2: 3-2 Otters
It’s not often you see an empty-net, game-winning goal, but when you score 65 goals in a season, I suppose anything can happen. Ryan McLeod, an NHL Draft prospect for 2018, opened the scoring late in the first, only to have Alex DeBrincat tie it before time expired. There wasn’t another goal until late in the third period when Warren Foegele scored with 1:57 left to give Erie the lead. Of course, Mississauga pulled the goalie for the extra attacker, but while doing so, DeBrincat scored :50 seconds later into the empty net. But with Mississauga’s third line out, Shaw Boomhower scored his first of the post-season with 29 seconds left to bring Mississauga to within a goal. The Steelheads couldn’t get another and DeBrincat’s empty-netter proved to be the game-winner.
4. Saint John @ Chicoutimi, Round 3, Game 6: 6-5 Sea Dogs
Chicoutimi scored the first two goals of the game before Saint John got one from exceptional status star Joe Veleno near the end of the first frame. Just 24 seconds into the second, Saint John tied it up and later took the lead on a Julien Gauthier power play marker. Down a goal going into the third, Chicoutimi scored three times in the first 4:22 into the frame to regain the lead. But before the halfway mark of the third, Thomas Chabot kick-started the third straight three-goal swing in the game, ending with Boko Imama’s game winner with just over five minutes left in the game to clinch the series.
3. Rouyn-Noranda @ Halifax, Round 1, Game 5: 6-5 Huskies, 3OT
The upstart Halifax Mooseheads were up against the second-seeded defending QMJHL champion Rouyn-Noranda Huskies in Round 1. With the series tied 2-2, and Halifax on home ice, the teams were tied at three with under five minutes to play — and that’s when things got wild. Halifax took the lead on Joel Bishop’s first of the post-season. Two minutes and 12 seconds later, Max Fortier gave Halifax a two-goal lead. Game over right? Not so fast. Forty seconds later, Jeremy Lauzon cut the lead to one and with 20 seconds left the Huskies tied it, completing a four-goal frenzy. The two teams went scoreless through 40 minutes of overtime, but just 26 seconds into triple overtime, Gabriel Fontaine ended it.
2. Regina @ Swift Current, Round 2, Game 4: 5-4 Broncos, 3OT
About as even a game you’ll ever find. Regina scored twice in the first, Swift Current tallied twice in the second. Regina took the lead early in the third, but that lasted just over two minutes as Tyler Steenbergen tied it. The Broncos thought they had it won when Ryley Lindgren counted his eighth of the playoffs with just 2:25 left in the game, but with the goalie out Dawson Leedahl tied it with 21 seconds left. That would kick off a fun-filled triple overtime thriller, where a Connor Hobbs tripping call resulted in Glenn Gawdin’s triple overtime winner. To continue with the even-steven theme, the two teams counted 69 shots on goal apiece, while each team was 1-for-3 on the power play.
1. Victoria @ Everett, Round 1, Game 6: 3-2 Silvertips, 5OT
A year after getting its heart broken by giving up a lead with under one second left only to lose in overtime to Kelowna, the Victoria Royals experienced playoff heartbreak again. This time it came at the hands of the Everett Silvertips. The two teams combined for three second period goals to put the Royals up 2-1, but Brian King’s first of the post-season with under two minutes into the third tied things up. What followed was historic. Cal Babych ended the game 11:36 into the fifth overtime period to end the longest game in CHL history. Everett outshot Victoria 45-41 in overtime alone. Silvertips goalie Carter Hart made 64 saves in the win.