The Mission Outlaws are heading to the second round of the Pacific Junior Hockey League playoffs.
The local squad, which fell behind two games to nothing early in the playoff series against the Langley Knights, bounced back with four straight wins, culminating with Tuesday night’s thrilling 6-5 overtime victory.
Bakshi Gill played the hero, scoring seven minutes into the first overtime period to give Mission the win and the series.
“It was a great feeling, ” said Gill. “I just saw the puck coming in on the rebound and it was an open net and I just put it in the net.”
When the puck went in, Gill’s teammates mobbed him on the ice.
For many, it was an unlikely outcome to the series, considering Langley took the first two games. But the Outlaws showed no quit in their game.
“The boys really came back from those two losses. We came together as a group and we showed how we play,” said Gill.
The clinching game was a thriller for the fans and tested the nerves of players and coaches alike. Mission had a 5-3 lead in the third period, but couldn’t protect it. Giveaways, falling players and other mishaps allowed Langley to tie it up and send it to extra time.
“What you saw tonight was a result of four games in five nights and no lead was safe. Guys on both sides were running on fumes,” said Outlaws coach Brad Veitch.
Even when it wasn’t looking good in overtime, the coach said he still thought his squad was going to get the winner. When the winning goal went in, it wasn’t just the players celebrating.
And what went through Veitch’s mind when the winning goal went in?
“Elation, thank God we don’t have to play Thursday night. Nobody wanted to go back to Langley. Every game has been up for grabs in this series and we did not want to give them life.”
Other goals scores for the Outlaws on Tuesday included Bryce Pisiak with two, Justin Bowerman, Bakshi Gill and Sammy Zeinab.
Jeffrey Veitch pick up the win between the pipes.
Mission will now take on the winners of the Aldergrove Kodiaks and Abbotsford Pilots series.