“The greatest feeling in the world.”
That’s how Highland Storm Rep Midget captain Shawn Walker described his emotions after their 5-3 victory over the Bancroft Jets at A.J. LaRue Arena March 9.
The win clinched their playdown series and gave them a ticket to the Midget CC final. It is the second straight year the team has made it this far.
“Feels great, honestly, going to the finals back-to-back,” Walker said after the win. “We worked for it. We deserve it, every second of it.”
The Storm came out strong against the Jets, jumping out to a 3-0 lead in the first period off two goals from Braedon Robinson and one from Nick Dollo.
A flurry of goals near the end of the second period cut into the lead, with the Jets potting two goals while the Storm’s Nigel Smith answered. The Storm went into the second intermission up 4-2.
The Jets would claw to within one with over 12 minutes left in the final frame. But the Storm held onto the 4-3 lead up until the final minute.
“Heart. A lot of heart,” Walker said about the team’s defensive effort. “We wanted it really badly. We did everything we could. Glass and out, we didn’t screw around in our end.”
The Storm came close to tallying an insurance goal, with a penalty shot by Nigel Smith followed by a powerplay opportunity late in the third. But the Storm could not convert on either chance, leading to the Jets pulling their goaltender to try to tie the game.
Walker fired the puck into the empty net from his own end, giving his team a 5-3 lead with a minute remaining
and cementing the win.
Head coach James Reilly said his team overcame a physical beating in the series, one that saw four players exit the lineup with injuries.
“I don’t know where they’re finding it from, but they’re finding something deep down inside. They’re working really hard and it’s a team effort,” Reilly said.
The victory gave the team three wins to one in the series.
The team will next go up against the Twin Centre Stars. Walker said it will be a tough final. But he wanted to take time to enjoy the win of the moment.
“I’m not really thinking about it tonight,” Walker said. “Starting tomorrow, I’ll start thinking about it. But basically, it’s just who wants it more.”