For the second year in a row, the Whitehorse Oldtimer Hockey League title went to the team that finished first in the regular season.
Regular season champs Yukon Inn took the Oldtimer title with an overtime win over Terra Firma in Wednesday’s final at the Canada Games Centre.
“We had a couple veterans off (last year’s winning) team. Maybe it was the talent, maybe it was luck,” said Yukon Inn winger Greg Shaffer, who recently moved to Whitehorse from Fairbanks.
“I think it was the hot peppers I introduced to the team from Alaska. I played in the Oldtimer league down there and introduced some secret hot chili peppers and they fire us up in between periods. Maybe that was it.”
Scoring the winning goal with 1:33 left in overtime was Yukon Inn centre Walt Liley, assisted by Glen Heinbigner and Rick Gingell. Liley was a pepper out on the ice for Yukon Inn in the regular season, leading his team in points with 33 goals and 33 assists.
“We had a lot of shots but their goaltender (Hubert Ruminski) was stopping pretty much everything we put at him,” said Shaffer. “Finally we broke it loose.”
The Oldtimer final used a two-game format – not a best-of-three format – in which the team with the most points after two games got the title.
Having won 5-4 over Terra Firma on Tuesday, Yukon Inn either needed a win or a tie on Wednesday to clinch the championships.
With Terra Firma winning 2-1 in Wednesday’s game, the final went down to a five-minute overtime.
“Last night we had a bit of sloppy play. It was our game to lose last night,” said Terra Firma captain Adam Green. “It could have gone either way. Gord Campbell had a breakaway at the end there (in the overtime) and almost scored.
“It was a good battle, a great game and a good series.”
Campbell led the league in points in the regular season with 87.
Scoring for Terra Firma in their 2-1 win on Wednesday to force the tiebreaking overtime were Ron Daub and Green with the game-winner. Steve Reynolds scored for Yukon Inn.
Terra Firma finished third in the regular season behind Kilrich.
“We started out rough. I think in our first 10 games we won two,” said Green.
“We had a great dressing room, the team really started to gel, dug deep and came back. It was a great end to the year.”
In Game 1 on Tuesday, Yukon Inn’s Chad Cowan had two goals while Saleem Dar, Bernie Adilman and Liley each had one. Finding the back of the Inn’s net were Campbell, Daub, Murray Arsenault and Greg Charlie.
The Yukon Inn advanced into the final with a shootout win over Medicine Chest. Terra Firma defeated Kilrich 2-1 in the other semifinal, scoring the game-winner with 39 seconds left in regulation.
“The league is run so well, it’s just great,” said Green. “Kudos to all the executives, they did a great job. It’s a great league, I can’t say enough about it – even though we lost.”
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