“That stung the boys because of the fact they knew they were in the game,” says head coach Scott Gordon.
“They played well for us overall. (P.E.I) went into a couple of lows, and so did we, but both teams battled out of it. On the skill side, we’re probably a little bit more skilled but they’re probably a little but more tenacious.”
Faced with a 5-3 deficit, that tenaciousness helped P.E.I. score twice in the final six minutes of regulation, forcing and overtime period where Brodie MacArthur beat Team NL’s Zach Rose for the game-winner.
MacArthur also had the equalizer in the third period, scoring on the man-advantage with Team NL’s Ian Smallwood in the box for hooking. It was the fourth such infraction of the game for Team NL.
Gordon didn’t have a problem with what would often be considered a borderline call.
“The referee was very cooperative and very explanatory. He had a good relationship with the benches right away, which I appreciated because there was nothing hidden by him. He told us what would be called and he was fairly consistent with both teams,” says Gordon.
“He kept it fair. He communicated numerous time, ‘I can give you a penalty, but I won’t, please tell the guys I don’t want to be the difference in the game.’”
Team NL opened the scoring with a goal from phenom Adam Dawe, but P.E.I.’s Thomas Casey tied the game under a minute later. Joel Bishop reclaimed the lead 55 seconds after that, giving Team NL a 2-1 lead after the first.
P.E.I. tied the game early in the second with Carson MacKinnon’s shorthanded marker. Team responded with a shorthanded marker of its own when P.E.I. goaltender Luke Wilson’s blocker save on a Bishop wrister from the slot bounced high and landed behind him.
P.E.I. tied it again 3:45 into the third with a goal from Jeremy McKenna.
But Team NL responded with two goals in 11 seconds — one from Kyle McGrath and Dawe with his second — around the six-minute mark.
MacKinnon made brought P.E.I. within striking distance at 13:45, setting up an opportunity for MacArthur’s heroics.
Gordon says despite finishing 10th and coming out flat in just one game — a 7-1 loss to P.E.I. in the preliminary round — they have every reason to hold their high going home.
“I hope that people home realize that our kids are in situation where perhaps they’re not used to this amount of pressure,” he says.
“These guys gave everything they had on the ice and were good ambassadors for Newfoundland. They represented the province well.”