Reid Duke scored 2:59 into extra time as the Wheat Kings downed the Seattle Thunderbirds 3-2 for the third straight game, grabbing a three games to none lead in the WHL Championship Series.
“They were heading for a change so we knew we wanted to get the puck right up early. (Wheaton) made a great pass to me and I kind of saw that we had a 2-on-1 with John there too,” said Duke post-game, “The ‘D’ slid so early, I decided to drag it to the middle, opened myself up a bit and picked the left side. After that, it was pretty crazy.”
The goal was Duke’s eighth of the playoffs after the Minnesota Wild draft pick scored 33 in the regular season.
“That easily has to be one of the most important goals I’ve ever scored,” added Duke, “Growing up, playing hockey as a kid, I don’t think my team ever had an opportunity like we do right now...I don’t think I’ve ever won a championship. To score that goal and have a chance to go up 3-0 in the WHL Championship, it’s pretty unbelievable.”
John Quenneville had the other two goals for Brandon, opening the scoring 5:19 into the first period and then scoring the game-tying goal 8:38 into the third period.
Quenneville now has a WHL-leading 15 goals in the post-season and 30 in his playoff career.
“Both plays, we did exactly what we want to do as a team. We want to get into the offensive zone and we want to establish the zone and try to wear their guys down,” said Quenneville, “Both times, I kind of found quiet ice and made myself unavailable for a second until the guys made a couple of good plays and, fortunately, I put a couple in the net.”
Both of Seattle’s goals came on back-to-back power-play chances in the first period.
Alexander True scored on a 5-on-3 man advantage at 12:27 while Keegan Kolesar gave Seattle a 2-1 lead in the ensuing 5-on-4 just 38 seconds later.
It’s the third straight game Brandon has trailed in the third period, and third time the Wheat Kings have rallied to win in overtime.
Jordan Papirny made 22 saves in the Wheat Kings’ net while Landon Bow stopped 31 shots for the Thunderbirds.
Brandon will go after the Ed Chynoweth Cup and their first WHL title since 1996 on Wednesday when Game Four is played at the ShoWare Center.
Chaff...it’s the first time a team has won three straight overtime games in the same series since Everett downed Kelowna in Games 5,6 and 7 of the Western Conference Final in 2004...Brandon scratches were F Caiden Daley, F Garrett Armour and F/D Mark Matsuba...Brandon is 8-1 in overtime over the past two post-seasons...attendance was 6,152...the WHL’s Portland Winterhawks will announce their new GM/Coach Wednesday, with Brandon University alumnist Mike MJohnston expected to start his second tour with the team.