It was a call with giant-sized ramifications.
The Vancouver Northwest Giants needed double overtime to stun the Cariboo Cougars 4-3 on Saturday at Kin 1 to force a third and deciding game in their best of three BCMML playoff semi-final.
Affiliate player Connor Wetsch scored the game-winning goal in dramatic fashion despite the visitors being outshot 37-19.
The breakout began with a pass from VNW defenceman Cole Moberg connecting with Dominic Davis who then found Wetsch streaking down the wing putting a weak shot on net against Cougars goalie Zack Wickson.
Despite the red light not coming on, the official not being in the attacking zone and the puck not clearly crossing the line entirely, even on video, the officiating crew awarded the Giants the marker who stormed off the ice in jubilation.
After a long officials meeting at centre ice and no attempt to speak to the goal judge the goal stood forcing another game between these too rivals.
Cougars Head Coach and GM Trevor Sprague was asked about the call after the game and issued this response. “You’ll have to ask the guy in the other room what happened. You don’t ask the goal judge, the light never went on. The ref talked to the player on the ice who was Malgunas and said it never went in. F–k I don’t know what to say.”
Sprague adds despite the tough break, the players still have to pull together and win another game on home ice. “Nobody is going to do any favours for us, this is a turn of events where you can’t believe it happened in the playoffs like this but hey, it is what it is and you have to deal with the adversity.”
The game saw plenty of fireworks early on starting with VNW jumping out to a 2-0 lead courtesy of BCMML leading scoring Liam Kindree who netted a pair in the contest followed by Justin Fodchuk.
Trey Thomas responded nine seconds later to cut the deficit in half after 40 minutes streaking down the middle and finishing a scoring play from Mason Richey and Daine Dubois.
Dubois scored early in the third on the power-play finishing off another Richey feed making it 2-2.
The final period opened up in the later stages with Kindree scoring his second of the game past Wickson putting the Giants back on top.
The hard-fought game was a costly one for both teams as they lost a crucial defenceman in the later stages.
Cougars captain Jesse Pomeroy exited the game after a missed boarding call in front of the Giants bench forced him to make contact face-first.
He left with an apparent neck injury while VNW defender Trevor Longo left during the first overtime with a knee injury.
Puck drop for game 3 is 9:45 on Sunday at Kin 1.
Giants get the OT winner to force Game 3 tomorrow morning
— Cariboo Cougars (@cariboocougars) March 19, 2017
In other midget hockey playoff action, the Northern Capitals defeated the Thompson-Okanagan Lakers on Saturday 4-1 in Vernon to advance to the BC Female Midget AAA final against the Vancouver Comets who swept the Kootenay Wild.