The Lakehead Thunderwolves rallied from two goals down in the third period and edged the Lethbridge Pronghorns 6-5 in an overtime shootout in front of a raucous crowd of 3,244 at the Fort William Gardens on Saturday night.
The come-from-behind victory gave Lakehead its first season-opening series sweep since 2010.
John Masters put the Wolves on the board early with a slap shot from the point that made its way past Lethbridge netminder Garrett Hughson just 1:09 into the contest.
Two special-teams goals late in the first period put the Pronghorns ahead. Brooks Maxwell scored a short-handed goal at 15:11 and Sam McKechnie converted on the power play at 18:30, giving Lethbridge a 2-1 lead after 20 minutes.
Lakehead’s Dexter Kuczek beat Hughson low on the glove side at 5:05 of the second to tie the game at 2-2.
Connor Sandivo got the Pronghorns second shorty of the night when the slid the puck under Lakehead goalie Devin Green’s pad at 15:14, but Joseph Leonidas replied for the Wolves and knotted the score at 3-3 with just over two minutes to go in the middle frame.
McKechnie and Sandivo put Lethbridge up 5-3 with two quick goals early in the third period, but the Thunderwolves showed they still had plenty of fight left.
Cooper Leitch narrowed the gap to 5-4 at the 7:01 mark, and struck again when he knocked home a rebound from the doorstep to knot the game at 5-5 with just 1:46 to go in regulation.
The five-minute overtime period was scoreless thanks to some timely saves by Green, and the match would have to be decided in a shootout.
Green stopped three of the four Lethbridge snipers he faced in the shootout, while Scott Gall scored on the Wolves’ first attempt. After Lakehead’s Daniel Del Paggio and Tomas Soustal were stymied, Josh Laframboise converted to give the Wolves the victory.
Lakehead outshot Lethbridge by a total of 59-41 for the game.
On the night, Lakehead was 0-for-7 on the power play, while Lethbridge went 1-for-3.
The Molson Three Stars of the game were:
1 Cooper Leitch, Lakehead
2 Devin Green, Lakehead
3 Josh Laframboise, Lakehead
The Wolves will be at home again next weekend to take on the Nipissing Lakers, with the opening face-off set for 7:00 pm both nights.