After four days and 22 games, it all came down to the final 28 seconds to decide the outcome of the 2015 BC Midget Tier 1 hockey championships.
Jaden McNulty scored at 19:32 of the third period to lift Kelowna to a 3-2 win over Seafair to cap a see-saw final on March 19 at the Comox Valley Sports Centre.
After a scoreless first period, Kelowna opened the scoring but trailed 2-1 after two. They pushed hard in the third, out shooting Seafair 13-7 (and 34-28 on the game) to earn the title.
Kelowna posted the best round-robin record at the seven-team, March 15-19 event, going 5-0-1 while Seafair finished at 4-1-1. The teams tied 2-2 when they met on Monday.
Prince George finished a close third with a 4-2-0 record.
The host Happy’s Source for Sports Chiefs finished 0-5-1 after dropping their final game Thursday 6-5 to North East Trackers, who finished 3-3-0.
Comox Valley fell behind 3-0 in the first frame but fought back to make it 4-4 early in the third. The teams then traded goals, with Alex Wilford’s second goal of the game pulling the Chiefs even at 5-5 at 11:32 only to have NET net the winner less than a minute later.
Nanaimo finished 1-4-1 and North Vancouver 1-3-2.
CVMHA president Win Hunter said the championships were a first class event from beginning to end. He credited the 100 or so volunteers who have worked hard over the three months leading up to the event, and the many local businesses and sponsors, for the success of the championships.
“We have been receiving compliments on the organization and the officiating,” Hunter said. “We had over 600 people at a couple of the games, and the live streaming video went right across North America and was even seen in Europe,” he added.
Hunter said the Saturday banquet with guest speaker Harold “Lefty” Williams was enjoyed by the 300 who attended. Williams, a former Harlem Globetrotter, is an inspirational speaker who is now a youth pastor in Port Alberni.
Kelowna marched to the final by beating NET 6-2 on Sunday, edging Nanaimo 4-3 and tying Seafair 2-2 on Monday, crunching Comox Valley 7-1 Tuesday, polishing off Prince George 4-0 Wednesday and downing North Vancouver 3-1 Thursday.
Seafair punched their ticket to the title tilt by blanking Prince George 3-0 Sunday, beating North Vancouver 4-3 and tying Kelowna 2-2 Monday, losing 3-2 to Northeast Trackers Tuesday, then nailing Nanaimo 10-2 and clipping Comox Valley 5-3 Wednesday.
The Chiefs opened with an 8-0 loss to Prince George, tied North Van 3-3, lost 7-5 to Nanaimo and 7-1 to Kelowna and fell 5-3 to Seafair.