MISSION, B.C. — The Campbell River Storm moved one step closer to a ticket in the 2015 Cyclone Taylor Cup final after edging the Kimberley Dynamiters 4-3 in double overtime Saturday afternoon at the Mission Leisure Centre.
“The resolve we have in that room, we knew our guys weren’t going to quit,” said Lee Stone, Storm head coach and general manager. “They go hard for the full 60 [minutes]. Obviously today it was 70 [minutes]. That’s what makes the difference.
“I think you saw in the three-on-three our skill really started to play out. We created a lot.”
The first great chance of the second overtime period came as Storm forward Gage Colpron collected a loose puck on the doorstep. With Nitros goaltender Tyson Brouwer out of position, the Kelowna native slid the puck past the yawning cage and was left looking skyward.
“He came back and slammed his stick. We just told him to calm down,” Stone said. “He gets pretty fired up but he’s an all-world player — four goals in two games, that speaks volumes. He doesn’t miss many chances.”
Colpron was given a second crack moments later and made no mistake the second time around, ending the back-and-forth affair by redirecting a pass from Colin Blake to the back of the net behind Brouwer.
“That’s a huge one. That’s my first overtime goal as a junior player,” Colpron said. “It feels really good. I’m from where the KI plays, so it feels kind of good to do it against them.
“It was kind of a weird play on the wall. I just knew if I gave the puck to Blakey he would do something good with it. I drove the net like I usually do and he put it right on my tape.”
The 6-foot-2 winger played his first Junior B games with the Grand Forks Border Bruins, suiting up four times during the 2012-13 KIJHL season. From there, he moved on to Campbell River for the 2013-14 season and has been there ever since.
Colpron also opened the scoring Saturday afternoon, sending a quick snap shot past Brouwer from the high slot 2:03 into the festivities.
Dynamiters forward Coy Prevost tied things up 1-1 midway through the second period.
After extended sustained pressure in Storm territory, the puck came to defenceman Jordan Busch at the blue line. The Nitros defender sent a long shot towards Storm goaltender Riley Welyk and a redirect from Prevost was enough to fool Welyk.
Reece Costain restored the Campbell River lead with a breakaway tally late in the second period, but the Nitros weren’t prepared to go into the second intermission down a goal.
In on the forecheck, Dynamiters forward Eric Buckley forced a turnover deep in Storm territory. The puck bounced out to Jordan Roy, who sent a shot high over the Campbell River net, but Keenan Haase was there to jump on the loose rubber and deposit it into the back of the net to tie the game 2-2 after 40 minutes.
With Storm defenceman Jordan Rauser serving a two-minute tripping penalty early in the third period, Nitros captain Jason Richter picked up a loose puck at centre ice.
Burning down the left wing, the native of Cranbrook sent a laser of a wrist shot up over the shoulder of Welyk to give the Dynamiters their first lead of the afternoon.
“I kind of just felt if I would have shot it, maybe I’d catch the goalie off guard,” Richter said. “I saw a bit of an opening there. I don’t know. I guess the goalie read it wrong, didn’t really see it come off my stick. It just went in.”
The Kimberley lead was short lived as Storm forward Connor Logan collected a puck and snapped a quick shelf-shot of his own a little less than 10 minutes later.
With the two teams tied 3-3 after regulation, overtime was served up in similar format to what KIJHL fans are used to seeing.
The first overtime period featured five minutes of four-on-four action. From there, the play shifted into five minutes of three-on-three play in the second overtime.
Colpron ended the game with 1:35 remaining in double overtime, preventing the shootout and collecting two points for his club.
“It’s always hard, but you’ve just got to bounce back right away,” Richter said. “If we get a win [Sunday against North Vancouver] we probably have a good chance of getting into the final. You just have to put it in the past right away and worry about your next game.
“They’re a good team. We played one of our best games of the year and I guess we’ll see them in the finals, probably.”
In Cyclone Taylor Cup play, a regulation win is worth three points, while an overtime victory presents two points to the successful squad and one point to the fallen.
The Storm sit perched atop the tournament standings, having earned five points via a regulation win and an overtime win. The Dynamiters sit second with four points after defeating the Mission City Outlaws in regulation Friday night.
Welyk, a 17-year-old native of Cabo San Lucas, Mexico, made 38 saves in his first start of the tournament after Jesse Michel earned a 6-3 win over the North Vancouver Wolf Pack in the tourney opener.
Brouwer was his usual spectacular self, making a handful of big stops throughout the day. By the end of double overtime, the 19-year-old puck-stopper had turned aside 34 of the 38 shots sent his way.
Next up, the Dynamiters face the North Vancouver Wolf Pack Sunday at 3 p.m. (PST). The Storm wrap round-robin play in a 7 p.m. (PST) date with the Mission City Outlaws.
“Mission has a great forecheck, so we’ll have to make sure we’re willing to take the bumps and bruises and make smart plays with the puck,” Stone said. “We win that game, we get home-ice advantage in the final and we’d be real happy with that.”
With the Wolf Pack and Outlaws in action Saturday evening, plenty of scenarios remain.
A regulation win for Kimberley over North Vancouver guarantees the Nitros a spot in the Cyclone Taylor Cup final Monday afternoon.
“We’ve just got to wake up in the morning and do exactly what we did [Saturday],” Richter said. “Come out hard and we’ll be focused and ready to go.”
The Townsman/Bulletin has you covered for the entire 2015 Cyclone Taylor Cup as sports editor Taylor Rocca joins the Kimberley Dynamiters in Mission. For full coverage of the Cyclone Taylor Cup, follow Taylor on Twitter (@taylorrocca) and watch dailytownsman.com/kijhl/ and dailybulletin.ca/kijhl/ for daily game stories.