NORTHLANDS COLISEUM (Jan. 8, 2017) — The conversation on the bench tried to assign hope to the hopeless with about six minutes left in the third period.
With the big board showing your good guys down 6-3 to the hated* Teal Team Six and time winding down, the comeback scenarios were talked through.
They were bleak.
“If we score a goal every 1:27, we’re right back in this thing,” we mused.
After all, this is a place — Northlands Coliseum — where miracles had happened before.
It’s where, on Dec. 30, 1981, Wayne Gretzky scored five goals against the Philadelphia Flyers to reach 50 goals in a stunning 39 games.
This is the place where, on Jan. 4, 2007, Dallas’s Patrik Stefan missed a tap-in empty netter with 20 seconds left and then watched helpless as Ales Hemsky took the puck the other way for an unbelievable game-tying goal.
This is the place where, on Feb. 2, 2012, Sam Gagner put up eight points against the powerhouse Chicago Blackhawks.
For your Puckaneers on this day, the miracle began with a breakway goal to make it 6-4. But the clock read 5:14 and the hole was still two.
Composure suddenly became an issue for our opponents. There was a slashing call, followed by an unsportsmanlike conduct penalty and an ejection.
With 2:32 left to go, PHC found the back of the net on the powerplay and the bad guys* were clearly on the ropes.
Another penalty on the other side, this time a trip, and Puckaneers potted on a five-on-three goal-mouth scramble with little more than a minute left.
With the comeback complete, the Buccos leaned on their girl in goal in overtime. She locked things down to get it to a shootout.
Goal 1 came from Nelson:
The clincher came from Hughes on the next shot.
On Sunday, your Puckaneers will get one last chance to take a spin around the Coliseum ice in a game against the Raging Beavers.
The grey old barn on 118th Street isn’t what she used to be.
But if you close your eyes and listen hard, you can still hear the echoes of all those great moments.
You can still hear Gretzky being mobbed by his teammates on the half wall after breaking Gordie Howe’s career points record.
You can still hear Ryan Smyth scoring the fastest hat trick in franchise history at 2:01.
You can still hear the puck hitting Ben Scrivens’ pads en route to a record 59-save shutout.
And you can still hear the crowd cheer as Hughes slid the puck under the keeper to cap what might have been the greatest rec. league hockey game ever played.
We’ll see you Sunday.
*We don’t really hate Teal Team nor are they bad guys.