The Lakehead Thunderwolves overcame a two-goal deficit in the third period, but were edged 3-2 in overtime by the Western Mustangs at the Thompson Arena in London on Saturday night.
The goaltending was superb at the both ends of the ice, as Lakehead’s Devin Green and Western’s Luke Peresinni both brought their “A” games to the rink.
Neither team was able to score in the first period, but Ray Huether got the Mustangs on the board at 4:15 of the second, the only goal of the middle stanza.
Western extended its lead 6:34 into the third when Mitchell Fitzmorris finished off a tic-tac-toe play with a low blast from the high slot.
Lakehead turned the heat up after that, and Callum Fryer notched his first goal as a Thunderwolf with a beauty after he sped down the right side and deked Peresinni from close range at 12:21.
Two minutes later, London native Cooper Leitch evened the score for the Wolves when he broke in alone from the left wing and flipped the puck past Peresinni with a backhander.
Both teams had great scoring opportunities in the overtime period, but Green made three big saves to keep the Wolves alive. At the other end of the ice, Peresinni twice robbed Daniel Del Paggio of chances to end the game.
It looked as though the match was headed for a shootout, but Cordell James got the winner on a breakaway with just two seconds left on the clock.
Total shots on goal in the game were 43-31 for the Mustangs.
Western was assessed only two minor penalties in the contest and Lakehead just one, with neither team scoring on their power play chances.
The Thunderwolves remain in 7th place in the OUA West Division, but collected one point for the overtime loss - enough to secure Lakehead a spot in the post season.
Lakehead will look to climb in the standings and improve upon its playoff seeding when the Wolves host Waterloo and Laurier next weekend to close out the regular season.