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Ridge Meadows Flames win first series in fourth overtime

Rookie Kochan gets game winner, Flames face Chilliwack Wednesday
Ridge Meadows Flames goaltender Cam Connolly was stopping pucks and players. (Mission Outlaws Facebook/Special to The News)

It took four overtime periods on Friday night, but the Ridge Meadows Flames won their first-round playoff series against the Mission City Outlaws, to advance to the conference championship.

The Ridge Junior Bs trailed the Outlaws through most of the fifth game in the best-of-seven. With six seconds left in the game, and the goaltender pulled for an extra attacker, Zack Lagrange scored to send the contest to overtime.

Jordan Kujala won a key offensive zone faceoff, the puck came to Lagrange at the point, and he ripped the tying shot home through traffic.

Through three overtimes the game stayed tied 2-2, then just after midnight, Theo Kochan scored his sixth goal of the playoffs to end the series. The puck came back to him at the point, and the sniper moved into the high slot and buried a wrist shot.

Goaltender Cam Connolly stopped all but two of the 49 shots he faced. Lincoln Edwards also scored, and Jordan Kujala had a pair of assists.

“That was a pretty unique experience for the guys to go through,” said Flames GM Derek Bedard. “Nobody had ever been in a game that long.”

He likeed the way his team looked through the first playoff series.

“We had really good production out of all of our lines,” said Bedard. “We’re getting contributions from up and down the lineup, which is important.”

The Flames now take on the Chilliwack Jets in another best-of-seven series to determine the champion of the Harold Brittain Conference, and who will advance to play for the Stonehouse Cup – awarded to the Pacific Junior Hockey League champion.

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The Jets are a veteran team with players who have experience in Junior A and Major Junior hockey.

During the regular season the Jets went 21-21-4-2, while Ridge was 31-14-2-1. They met in four games, with the Flames taking three.

“It’s going to be a good series. Their regular season record isn’t reflective of their team,” said Bedard. “They beat Langley in five games, and that’s a heck of a feat.”

The first two games in the second-round series will be hosted by the Flames at Cam Neely Arena. Game one goes Wednesday, March 8 at 8:30 p.m., and the second game will be Friday, March 10 at 7:30 p.m.

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Neil Corbett

About the Author: Neil Corbett

I have been a journalist for more than 30 years, the past decade with the Maple Ridge-Pitt Meadows News.
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