SUMMERSIDE — Ryan May capped the Charlottetown Abbies’ Cinderella run to the P.E.I. Irving Oil Bantam AAA Hockey League championship on Sunday night.
May scored 1:21 into the third overtime period to give the Abbies a 3-2 win over the Summerside Capitals, and a three-game sweep in the best-of-five final.
“There’s not too many minor hockey games are that entertaining,” said Abbies head coach Cory Gaudet. “It was a great effort by both teams.
“The whole series, they battled hard. I don’t have anything bad to say about anybody. Unfortunately, a team has to lose, and I’m glad it was us who came out on top.”
Capitals head coach Todd Richard was proud of the effort put forth by his players.
“It’s pretty sombre in the room right now,” said Richard. “We knew down 2-0 our backs were against the wall. We wanted to come out tonight (Sunday) and make sure we left everything out on the ice.
“Unfortunately, their last shot went in and we didn’t get the result we wanted.”
At Credit Union Place’s Ice Pad, the Abbies jumped out to a 2-0 lead on second-period goals by Andrew Campbell (2:04) and Dallen Bulger (2:38). The score remained 2-0 until Tyson Arsenault scored at 9:53 and 13:54 of the 15-minute third period to send the game to overtime. After a scoreless 10-minute first overtime period, the teams played a scoreless 20-minute frame before May’s game-winner.
“It was a turnover at the blue-line, we picked it up and it was a shot on goal (from the left-wing circle),” said Gaudet in explaining how the winning goal developed. “We were stressing shots on goal in the dressing room between (overtime) periods.”
Thomas Casey drew the lone assist on May’s goal. Jacob Hood also picked up an assist for the Abbies while Brodie MacArthur (2), Noah Dobson and Connor McAulay drew helpers for the Capitals.
Goaltenders were Ava Boutilier (Abbies) and Evan Richard (Capitals).
Both teams had chances to win the game on the power play in the first overtime. The Capitals had a 5-on-4 man advantage for the first 1:17, including a two-man advantage for 22 seconds. The Abbies failed to score on a five-minute power play.
Road to title
The Abbies, who upset the second-place Western Maroons in the semifinals and the top-seeded Capitals, will now represent P.E.I. at the Atlantic Irving Oil bantam AAA hockey championship tournament in Mount Pearl, N.L., from April 3 to 6.
“I knew we could (win the P.E.I. championship),” said Gaudet. “We had to get these guys to believe. It wasn’t going to be easy, but the adversity of the West Prince series (being down 2-1 in the series) propelled these guys to want it and want it a little bit more each night.
“Then we came up here (Saturday) last week and snuck one out in Game 1, the guys started to believe and that’s when things really took off.”