The Atom Frontenac Flyers certainly have a flair for the dramatic, notching the winner for a 5-4 win in Game 3 of their Ontario Minor Hockey Association CC semi-final against the Shelburne Wolves with 5.9 seconds left on the clock.
Following the sweep of the Wolves, the Atoms now go on to face the Ilderton Jets in the final that begins Saturday at Frontenac Community Arena at 6 p.m.
“We’ve been a third period team all year,” said coach Jamie Craig. “The boys dug down deep.
“There’s no quit in them.”
The Wolves opened the scoring with 6:30 of the first period, capitalizing on a bit of a Flyers defensive miscue. At 12:29 of the second, the Wolves scored again, this time on a power play. They added a third goal on a wild scramble at 6:10
But as the period was coming to a close, Flyers forward Mason Norgaard lifted a wrister into the Wolves net and when the ice resurfacer came out between periods, the Flyers looked to be gaining moment.
That momentum was shelved momentarily in the opening seconds of the third as the Wolves went up 4-1.
“They’re (the Wolves) a good team,” said Craig. “They have a lot of big guys.”
But then things started to shift the Flyers’ way.
Drake Thomas started things off as the Flyers scored four unanswered to the delight of the standing-room only crowd.
Thomas’s marker was followed by tallies from Jack Craig and Luke Reid, setting the stage for Thomas’s second of the game — this time with only 5.9 seconds left in the game.
“Believe it or not, that wasn’t the latest we’ve scored to win a game this year,” said Craig. “We got one with 1.2 seconds left.
“I’ve tried to tell them not to depend on the third period because this could run out.”
However, Craig has coached some of these players for three years and he knows how they can rise to an occasion.
“We have an excellent leadership group here, with Drake, Jack, Mason and Rhett Colson,” he said. “You saw it towards the end tonight.”
Craig also credited Flyers organization President Al Pixley with the team’s success.
“Mr. Pixley is the backbone here,” Craig said.
Craig wasn’t making any predictions of a repeat championship as his team now takes on Ilderton in the finals.
“They’ll be strong,” he said. “And, it’ll be good hockey.”