A hard-fought 4-3 victory in double overtime over the Summerside Capitals gave the Matrix the best-of-five P.E.I. Irving Oil Bantam AAA Hockey League championship series in four games.
The Matrix will now represent P.E.I. at the Atlantic Irving Oil bantam AAA championship in Montague from March 21 to 24.
“It feels great,” said Matrix coach Cory Parsons. “The boys worked hard all season long to give themselves this opportunity, and they came through in the end.
“I’m proud of the boys. It’s good to see them pull through.”
Before a big crowd at Credit Union Place’s Ice Pad, Calen MacInnis was the overtime hero for the Matrix, scoring 26 seconds into the second extra period for the victory.
Parsons said he didn’t give any big speeches or inspirational monologues to get his players fired up during the intermission between the overtime periods. In fact, he was more worried about getting his players to relax.
“It was more or less just getting the boys to calm down, focus on their jobs and they came through for us,” said Parsons.
It was, of course, a more sombre mood on the adjacent bench as the Capitals cleaned out their gear and filed out of the rink.
Summerside coach Scott Bridges said a lot of his players were pretty down, but he went on to say they had no reason to be, adding the Caps played their hearts out.
“I thought it was a good game,” said Bridges. “Two evenly-matched teams that played hard.
“We battled hard right to the end – but we just came up short. I thought we were in the whole game at all times. I couldn’t be any more proud of those guys in there (dressing room).”
Hikaru Kinowaki, Dylan Wheatley and Riley Gallant scored the other Matrix goals while assists went to Carson McManaman and Kyle Pinksen drew assists.
Brodie MacArthur, Jeremy McKenna and Tayler Read countered for the Capitals. Sam Bernard and Carson MacKinnon each earned two assists while singles went to Austin Woodard and Logan Vandervelden.
After a scoreless first period, the Matrix led 1-0 after two.
Ethan Malcolm earned the goaltending win, and Kolby Bridges was in goal for the Capitals.