The Swift Current Home Hardware Legionnaires battled through adversity Sunday to defeat one of the top teams in the Saskatchewan Midget AAA Hockey League.
The Legionnaires trailed twice in the third period alone, but fought back to defeat the visiting Prince Albert Mintos 5-4 in a shootout.
“I think the biggest thing our team learned today is just how deep we can get as a group,” said head coach Darren Evjen. “There was times where we made mistakes and it cost us, but we found a way as a group to respond and help our teammates out when they made mistakes and get the win.”
“It was a good win for the boys,” said rookie forward Reed Jacobson. “We started out good and then the last 10 minutes of the first was a little shaky. We came out hard at the start of the second and from there we just took it under control and everyone played their role.”
The Legionnaires trailed 3-2 in the third period before Jacobson fired home his first career goal to tie the game with 4:08 remaining in regulation. Josh Pillar responded for the Mintos only 24 seconds later, but captain Owen Ozar scored on the power play with the goaltender pulled with only 26 seconds left to force overtime.
“Evs came in the room and said we have to be harder,” said Jacobson. “Everyone went out there, did their role, did as much as they could, and it worked out for us.”
“It felt great to get the monkey off my back, finally put one in the net,” he said of his first career goal. “The boys were really supportive, they helped me all along the way. It was great.”
After a scoreless overtime period, Ozar and Jacobson both scored in the shootout, while Steven Duchscher stopped both Mintos’ shooters to secure the win.
“I saw that the goalie left the top left corner open a bit there. So I just put a good shot on and it went in,” Jacobson said of his shootout winner.
Kersey Reich, Ozar, and Ty Muench all finished with a goal and an assist and Hunter Lamb added two assists. Duchscher finished with 26 saves on 30 shots.
The Legionnaires improved to 8-3-0-0 with their fourth straight win as Prince Albert dropped to 7-1-2-1.
“Where we’re at right now, we’ve had success. We’re learning lessons though and that’s good,” said Evjen. “We don’t want to win games the wrong way. We want to win games the right way. When we don’t play the right way, as I’ve alluded to, penalties and that, we’ve lost games. We’ve just got to take it, it’s cliché, but day-by-day and just keep getting better and keep learning, that’s the key for our group.”
“We have been working hard, getting pucks deep and just being hard to play against every game, work in their end, and get shots on net,” said Jacobson of the start to the season.
Evjen agreed that the shootout win was the biggest victory of the season.
“Yeah I would say up until now because they are a top team. We are fighting for second place both teams. They have an organization that knows how to win and we’re on the mountain climbing up and trying to learn our way as we go here. That’s a big win, and the way we won it, to battle back there a couple times and find a way. Then in overtime, kill a penalty, then the shootout, to get another big game out of Steven Duchscher and then Jacobson and Ozar, what can you say right.”
The Legionnaires are back at home Tuesday to host the Regina Pat Canadians at 8 p.m.