Ethan Daniels saved the Peguis Juniors from a monumental Game 5 collapse by scoring the overtime winner and helping his team come all the way back from an 0-2 deficit in its best-of-five Keystone Junior Hockey League semifinal against the OCN Storm, with a 6-5 victory in the series finale in The Pas on March 21.
Daniels completed a natural hat trick to give the Juniors a 3-0 lead with 6:27 remaining in the second period, and goals by teammate Shaydon Mousseau and Wyatt Bear stretched their lead to five just 2:12 before the second intermission.
That’s when the Storm found their spark, with Millan Constant getting OCN on the board before the period ended. The Storm kept their foot on the gas early in the third, with Devon Tobacco and Branden Hill netting markers in the first three minutes.
The score remained 5-3 until Tobacco recorded a hat trick of his own in the final minutes, scoring power-play goals 74 seconds apart to force overtime.
However, Daniels’ fourth goal of the game ended a wild and turbulent game, which saw three-time defending champion Peguis advance to the best-of-seven KJHL final against the top-seeded Cross Lake Islanders.
The Juniors will host the Islanders at the Peguis Multiplex for Games 1 and 2 on March 29 and 30, respectively, with both contests starting at 8 p.m. The series will then shift to Cross Lake for Games 3 and 4 on April 5 and 6, respectively, and start at 8 p.m. each night. If necessary, Game 5 will be in Cross Lake on April 7 at 2 p.m., Game 6 back in Peguis on April 12 at 8 p.m., and Game 7 to be hosted by the Islanders on April 14 at 8 p.m.
Cross Lake has never won the KJHL championship since joining the Junior B circuit in 2006, while the Juniors will be looking for their fifth title in seven years and seventh overall.