The Essroc Arena will be rocking tonight as the Lehigh Cement Group Bantam BB Kings will be hosting the Collingwood Blackhawks in a special Game 6 of the 2018 Ontario Minor Hockey Association semifinals.
The reason the game is rare is due to the series being a six-point affair that will see the winner take on the Dorchester Dragons in the Ontario finals later this month.
Both teams reached the five-point mark by virtue of a Game 5 4-4 draw played in Collingwood on Sunday.
A win by either team tonight ends the series however another tie would send the set back to Collingwood for an improbable but not impossible Game 7.
Down four points to two going into Game 4 in Wellington on Saturday afternoon, the Kings and Blackhawks played it tight to the vest with neither team scoring through two periods.
Partway through the third, Kings forward Ross Maycock pounced on a loose puck just off the lip of the Collingwood crease and roofed it for the game’s opening tally.
The Kings would be forced to kill of a late penalty but netminder Nolan Lane was rock solid and defencemen Cole Lavender and Cam Pero were able to control the ice behind Kings goal with force.
The 1-0 win set up Game 5 in Collingwood and it was the hosts getting out to early 1-0 lead before Parker Mattis dangled through the Blackhawks, deking the netminder and evening the score at 1-1.
In the second, Collingwood was quicker to the puck and managed to build a 3-1 lead before the Kings came storming back.
Austin Bryans would bang home a puck from in tight to get the locals to within a goal then Spencer Haennel picked up a Lavender drive and deposited the rebound to tie it at 3-3.
The Kings responded early in the third and it was Bryans bagging his second of the contest thanks to a nice feed from Kacey Cocklin that put the visitors ahead 4-3.
Prince Edward County would hold onto that lead inside a couple of minutes remaining when Collingwood lifted their netminder for an extra attacker.
The Kings would get a couple of good looks at an empty net but couldn’t bury and that allowed Collingwood to score an equalizer with 48 seconds left.
In overtime, the Kings would get a couple of breakaways only to see the Hawks goalie successfully stare down a pair of Kings with one of those stops coming while the locals were shorthanded.
Of course, Collingwood had chances to win in overtime as well but Lane and his posts and cross bars simply said no.
Game 6 goes tonight at Essroc Arena with puck drop taking place at 7 p.m.
Local hockey fans are encouraged to attend and lend their support to this bantam-aged club looking to earn a birth in the Ontario finals.