Tyson Terretta just proved Tom Petty wrong. Sometimes, waiting isn’t the hardest part.
In a playoff-hockey, double-overtime world, where pucks are getting blasted from every angle, hoping to catch the right bounce off a skate, stick or post and go in, one defenseman had the presence of mind to slow the break-neck pace down for a couple extra seconds.
Terretta, who scored one goal in 34 regular season games, had the puck on his stick as the Foothills CFR Chemicals Bisons were trying to grind out a couple offensive shifts in the second overtime of Game 3 of the Alberta Midget Hockey League semifinals, Tuesday night at the Cardel Rec South arena.
All Terretta needed to beat the Buffs was a little — hesitation.
Terretta received the puck on the blue line defensive partner Cayde Augustine. The Buffs winger sprinted out to meet him at the blue line and sprawled out once he saw Terretta raise his stick to unload a bomb. Recognizing the shot blocker, he paused, waited, as time appeared to stop, as the blocker slid by and corked a shot through a maze in front of Buffs goaltender Taylor Gauthier.
“My first option was to pass dee-to-dee, but that wasn’t available. My next option was to put it on net, but there was a guy there to block the shot, so I just held it for a second, a lane opened up and I let her go,” said Terretta.
The back of the net bulged.
Gauthier didn’t realize the puck whizzed by him. Terretta didn’t realize the puck was lodged into the back of the net until he was mobbed by a herd of teammates.
Terretta’s clapper cooked the Buffs 3-2 in double overtime, as the Bisons grabbed a 2-1 lead in the best-of-five series.
Overtime was two inches away from never occurring.
Tyson Scott, who scored a goal with 15.6 seconds remaining in Game 2 of the quarterfinals to force overtime, was rewarded with a penalty shot with 1:46 remaining in regulation.
Coming in, he tried to go top-bunk on Gauthier, but his shot rifled off the crossbar and into the protective netting.
“As a staff, we are just trying to stabilize the emotions. There are a lot of highs and lows in these games, we got to keep them level so they can go out and compete,” said Bisons head coach Sandy Henry. “But wow, are these games fun right now.”
Down 1-0, Jackson Salt appeared to tie things in the second period after driving hard to the net. Salt’s rebound got swatted 15-feet in the air. Gauthier lost track of it, as Salt and Zach Huber were swiping at the puck fiercely on its way back to Earth. The puck trickled across the goal line, but the linesman waved it off, saying the puck made contact with Salt’s glove.
Shortly after, the Hockey Gods evened things up, when a point shot by Augustine redirected off the foot of Buffs defender Cayden Shmyr and past Gauthier.
The Bisons received another fortunate bounce in the third period, when a point shot from Liam Belcourt hit the backside of Salt, sneaking past Gauthier.
The Buffs knotted things at two, when Jaren Turnquist from the halfwall hit Layne Sniher in the slot, as he ripped one top corner past Laidlaw at the 10:34 mark of the third.
The goaltending by both sides this series has been ridiculous. If team’s don’t get a lucky bounce or pull off the perfect shot, the puck isn’t going in. Plain and simple.
Laidlaw recorded a season-high 52 saves and Gauthier was top-notch himself, with 34 stops.
“Both teams are working their ass’s off against two guys that aren’t giving much up. The fact that two teams are this skilled, are playing low scoring, one-goal games — those guys are standing on their heads,” said Henry.
Bisons’ fans rejoiced and Buffs fans did a double-take when they saw Tarun Fizer on the ice for the second shift of the game. Fizer has been out with a lengthy upper-body injury and wasn’t expected to be back this series. Also returning to the lineup for the Bisons was winger Tyler Petrie.
“They changed the whole dynamic of our lineup. I think they looked like the fit in right off the bat,” said Bisons assistant coach Mike Langen.
Fizer was among the league leaders in points (31) when he got hurt in January. Petrie, who missed the last few regular season games, recorded 13 goals and 28 points this year.
The series now shifts back to Strathmore, where the Bisons have a chance to clinch the Chrysler division on home ice. Game 4 goes Thursday, 7 p.m. at the Strathmore Family Centre. If necessary, Game 5 would return to the Cardel Rec South arena Sunday, puck drop at 6:45 p.m.
In the other AMHL semifinal, the Leduc Chrysler Oil Kings swept the top-ranked Sherwood Park J. Ennis Kings Tuesday night, when they won 6-3. They await the winner of the Bisons-Buffs series, for the right to be crowned league champion.