If you thought the game back in November was good between Nipawin and Kindersley at the Cage, like The Empire Strikes Back, the sequel was better.
Things started off well for the Hawks, as they got goals from Alex Ochitwa and Braxton Buckberger late in the first to go ahead. But Kindersley's Tylin Hilbig started off his solid night with his 13th of the season. It came on a nice 2-on-1 with Logan Linklater, as Links found Hilbig on his strong side and he went top shelf when mom hides the cookies, to cut the Hawks lead in half.
The Klippers kept coming in the 2nd period, as Links once again went to work, stick handling in a phone booth just inside the near circles, and went high on Hawks goaltender Damon Cunningham to tie the score. The Hawks netminder was splendid on this evening, making huge saves to keep his team in the hockey game. The goal was Linklater's 7th of the season in just 18 games played.
Kindersley then took the lead on a 4-on-4 situation, as Danton Cox, who had a chance earlier in the sequence, made no mistake this time, going over the right shoulder of Cunningham on a point blank shot from the slot. This was Cox's first goal in Klippers colours.
Then on the nicest play of the evening, a clearing attempt by the Hawks was knocked down by Tylin Hilbig and he went between the legs to Linklater at the right side of the net, Links made a nice one touch pass to a wide open Cash Arntsen on the left side of the net, and it was an easy tap in for the Klippers veteran, the goal was his 10th of the season.
The third started off well for Kindersley, with Tylin Hilbig getting his second of the evening and 14th of the season. However, the Hawks would not go down without a fight in this now 5-2 game. Ochitwa got his second on a nice rush, as he took the shot which deflected off Brayden Koch's stick to cut the lead to a pair.
Then the Hawks got a powerplay and took advantage on a sharp angle shot from Zander Stewart off of an Alex Johnson faceoff win, to make it one goal hockey game with over six minutes to play in regulation.
Things stayed that way until the last minute of the third. The Hawks pulled their netminder for the extra attacker and Ochitwa got the hat trick goal, on a nice shot from the top of right circles to send the game to overtime.
Both teams came out rather tentative in the extra period, before Nathan DeGraves picked up an Logan Linklater pass, skated from in front the penalty box, came into the top of circles and beat Cunningham with a perfect shot to the far lower right corner. The goal was DeGraves' 2nd of the season, and gave the Klippers a wild 6-5 overtime win.
This was the best hockey game I've witnessed all season, and I have to give full marks to the Hawks for coming back and forcing overtime. This was the third time these teams went to the extra session, with Nipawin winning the first two via the shootout. The teams play one more time on February 28, and it would be no surprise if the game went to extra time once again.
Kindersley will look to make it two in a row on this quick northeastern road trip, as they will battle the Melfort Mustangs Wednesday night at Northern Lights Palace. Country 104 will have the call with myself Chris Omness, beginning with the Murlin Electronics pregame show at 7:15 pm.