It will be a full-length final

John Browne
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Highlanders’ shootout win over Vikings means deciding game will be played Thursday

Holy Heart Highlanders’ goaltender Nick Walsh makes a save on the Gonzaga Vikings’ Mike Connors during the shootout round of Game 4 of the St. John’s high school hockey final at Twin Rinks Monday afternoon. Holy Heart would go on to win 3-2, forcing a fifth and deciding game Thursday. — Photo by Keith Gosse/The Telegram

Chris Mallard scored the shootout winner as Holy Heart Highlanders defeated Gonzaga Vikings 3-2 Monday night at Twin Rinks to tie the best-of-five St. John’s High School Hockey League final at two games each.

The deciding game for the Dr. Harry Roberts Trophy, goes 5 p.m. Thursday night.

“It was definitely a big one…one that I’ll remember for a long time,” said Mallard about his winning marker.

“I knew I had to go in with speed because he  (the Vikings’ Brandon Goodwin) is a big goalie and I had to get him moving,” explained Mallard.  

“I went to my backhand and, lucky enough, I got the puck through his legs.”

All the games in the series have been close and could have gone either way. That’s not lost on Mallard.

“We’re just trying to come out and battle in every game. Credit to the guys for the clutch victory today.”

Mallard, a Grade 12 student, said there are a lot of graduating players on the team and, “We’re all coming together and doing it for each other. That’s the motivation that keeps us going.”

Eddie Rumsey and Grant Nolan scored the Highlanders goals in regulation time. Andrew Paul and Tyler Boland scored for the Vikings. Paul and Mallard each picked up one assist.

The game went to a shootout after the teams had played to a 2-2 draw in regulation time and then after a five-minute, four-on-four overtime.

“I’m not that disappointed,” said Vikings coach Bryan Cooper said about the way the game ended.  “The shootout is what it is. They played us hard and we played them hard. They came out on top in this one and we’ll see what happens in Game 5.”

“We had our opportunities to win it in regulation time. I think that, for the most part, we out-chanced them. We started out really well and we finished hard. We had two or three quality chances in the overtime.

“It was end-to-end for most of the game. Both teams had their legs going. Both teams want to beat each other so bad. This whole series has been a dog fight… and I wouldn’t expect it any other way.”

The Vikings took the game to the Highlanders early with the help of a power play one minute into the game.  The Highlanders got their skating legs five minutes into the first period and from then on it was basically back and forth with each team getting some pretty good scoring chances.

Goodwin, for the Vikings, and Nick Walsh, in net for the Highlanders, were both solid.

The was no scoring in the first period. The team’s were tied 1-1 after two periods and each side exchanged power play goals in the third.

Organizations: Vikings, High School Hockey League

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