March 10, 2013 – Alex Whitwham of the Greater Vancouver Canadians scored a dozen goals during the regular season, but the goal he scored on Sunday will likely be the one he remembers whenever he thinks back upon this year of his hockey career. With the opening round best-of-three series between the Canadians and the North East Chiefs deadlocked at a game apiece, and the deciding game tied 4-4 in the first overtime period, Whitwham worked his way to the front of the net, battled for a rebound, and swept the puck into the back of the net.
“Dreamed of that all my life,” tweeted Whitwham shortly after the game. That’s when all the accolades and congratulations started to pour in, though many of his former teammates, friends and coaches have been commenting on his classic celebration rather than his clutch goal. Whitwham raced off to centre ice after scoring the goal where his teammates mobbed him.
The situation was looking pretty grim for the Greater Vancouver Canadians just sixteen seconds into the second period. Despite having scored the first goal of the game, the Canadians had surrendered a pair of first period goals to the North East Chiefs before Kurt Sonne put the Chiefs ahead 3-1.
Both game one and two of this series had been decisive, one-sided affairs, as had been the previous four regular season encounters between the two teams. Everything indicated that this deciding quarterfinal round game would follow a similar model.
Enter Adam Musil, a first round pick in the WHL bantam draft by the Red Deer Rebels who had struggled at times this season to live up to his offensive potential. Failing to find a linemate open in front, Musil simply shot the puck from the corner into the feet of Chiefs goalie Nick McBride. The puck bounced off McBride and into the net, setting the stage for a three goal second period rally by the Canadians. Goals by Adamson and Gawdin had the Canadians leading 4-3 after 40 minutes.
The Chiefs were able to quickly even the score at the start of the third period as Conner Burke jumped on a mishandled puck in the Canadians’ end and beat goalie Nathan Alalouf on a partial breakaway.
Both teams exchanged a flurry of chances during the third period, but neither team were able to score the decisive marker until Whitwham’s effort at 8:05 of overtime.