Tillsonburg’s Oxford Source for Sports bantams had time left on the clock.
Not much time, as they went into the final minute of Wednesday’s Southern Counties round-robin playoff hockey game.
“Fifty-one seconds,” said Tornadoes’ Josh Verschueren, who scored the game-tying goal in a 3-3 deadlock. “It was enough time. A rebound, the puck came to me and I buried it.”
Verschueren had opened the scoring at 9:19, on a rebound, just 41 seconds into the game.
“The right place at the right time.”
Caledonia replied with a pair of second-period goals. Andrew Kersten equalized at 2-2 late in the same period cashing in on a Reese Battin rebound.
Caledonia’s Connor Carusello scored his second of the night to put the visitors up 3-2.
Tillsonburg didn’t get much pressure on their only power play, and scoring chances were scarce in the final period.
“We were giving the puck away at our own blueline, so we couldn’t get going,” said Verschueren.
“We beat them in OMHAs, but we had a bad game tonight. We’ve had a couple like that.”
Despite the fact they’re not firing on all cylinders, the bantams are 2-0-1 in the Southern Counties round-robin A playoff division.
“Two points would have been good, we would have clinched first (in round-robin), but it doesn’t matter. One more win.”
“Two teams pulled out Southern Counties, still in OMHAs,” noted Ralph. “There was six or seven, now there’s four or five of us. I don’t know exactly.
“It’s tough to get re-motivated and re-energized after OMHAs, especially after being up 2-0.”
OMHA BB playdowns didn’t end well for Tillsonburg, who reached the quarter-finals.
“We lost in Game 5 to Strathroy,” said Verschueren. “We were up 2-0, thought we had it.”
“All really close games too,” said coach Ralph. “We won 2-0, 3-2, then lost twice to them in overtime. Game 5 was a 4-1 loss. It was a good, really tight series.
“It’s tough, but it was a good team we lost to. We had a chance in Game 3 to win it – with probably about two minutes left we hit a crossbar. So it was just breaks like that, too.”
Tillsonburg Oxford for Sports 3, Caledonia 3
Tillsonburg scoring: 1. Josh Verschueren (Matthew Meharg); 2. Andrew Kersten (Nehemiah Dube, Alex Sutherland); 3. Josh Verschueren (Reese Battin, Grayden Sinden)