Overtime heroics completes Bisons sweep
Hockey: Maximnuk nets winner as Okotoks eliminates Cochrane in three games
Sunday, Feb 25, 2018 05:43 pm
Playoff hockey has a way of creating heroes.
Affiliate player Hunter Maximnuk stepped into the spotlight in his playoff debut, notching the series winning overtime goal in the Okotoks Bisons 1-0 triumph Sunday at the Murray Arena to complete the three game sweep over the Cochrane Generals in the HJHL Southern semifinal.
“I skated as hard as I could and when I saw the goalie bite on my fake shot I knew I had him,” said Maximnuk, a call-up from the Bow Mark AAA Oilers. “Seeing the puck go in it was like holy this is happening.
“Then seeing everyone in the stands cheering and going wild, that was a once in a lifetime experience.”
Maximnuk’s winner 4:12 into the first overtime period broke a scoreless deadlock. Before the breakthrough it looked like the teams would be playing for hours trying to find a way past Okotoks’ Devin Reagan or his opposite number Knute Loe.
“It’s huge for (Maximnuk) to put it on the line like that,” said Bisons alternate captain Brennan Fuoco. “And for us to trust him to get out there in the overtime and for him to pull that off was awesome to see.
“We just wanted it more. At the end you could tell they were getting tired and it was just more their heart coming out. We just dug deep, everyone got in tight and said we’ve got to do this.”
With their season on the line the Generals poured it on in the late stages, hemming the Bisons in their zone for the final five minutes of regulation and opening shifts of overtime.
Reagan would prove to be unbeatable on the afternoon.
The HJHL wins leader stopped all 40 shots he faced for his playoff shutout with the club to come out on top in the old fashioned goaltender’s duel.
“It was a team effort, we both played pretty well and our teams helped us out quite a bit,” Reagan said. “I just had to make the saves I can and let the team do the rest. Just beat the guy at the other side of the ice, beat their goalie. It’s between him and I pretty much.”
The Bisons put themselves in the driver’s seat by taking Game 2 by a 4-3 score Saturday night in Cochrane. Okotoks fought off a 2-0 deficit in the victory, picking up goals through Dallas Otto, Bradley Whitehead, Kyle Harrison and captain Josh McCulloch.
Game 1 of the series saw Okotoks ride a dominant third period to a 6-3 victory Friday on home-ice.
Okotokian Robbie McLean paced the offence in a two goal effort, Jaren Turnquist tallied his first goal with the squad while Harrison, Fuoco and Taylor McNeill also found the back of the net.
“We didn’t sacrifice defence for offence and we put the puck in the net, did a lot of that,” Reagan said of the series as a whole. “We have a lot of respect for those guys (Cochrane), but we knew we were going to do well in the playoffs. We’re a playoff team.
“We have confidence in ourselves to play period by period and come out on top.”
Okotoks is now in waiting mode preparing for its next opponent in the division final.
The other Southern Division semifinal series has the fourth seed High River Flyers up 2-1 on the number one seed Coaldale Copperheads.
For more information go to okotoksbisons.com