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Rattlers sweep series to advance to division finals

Bradford squad earns overtime victory against Temiscaming

On Saturday, March 11, the Bradford Rattlers defeated the Temiscaming Titans in a stunning overtime victory to sweep the semifinal series three games to none.

The Bradford Rattlers now proceed to the Greater Metro Junior A Hockey League North Division finals against the Ville-Marie Pirates, with Game 1 on Wednesday, March 15 in Ville-Marie and Game 2 in Bradford at the BWG Leisure Centre. Doors open at 6:30 p.m., 7 p.m. warm-ups and 7:30 p.m. puck drop.

Championship final home games

Thursday, March 16 — Doors open 6:30 p.m., warm-ups at 7 p.m., puck drop at 7:30 p.m.

Saturday, March 18 — Doors open 7 p.m., warm-ups at 7:30 p.m., puck drop at 8 p.m.

Saturday, March 25 — Doors open 7 p.m., warm-ups at 7:30 p.m., puck drop at 8 p.m.

With fans waving their homemade signs in the air, the arena welcomed Kayden and Mason acting as the team’s pre-game flag bearers. They completed two laps under a spotlight provided by team sponsor Upsight & Sound Inc. (Barrie), before accompanying the starting lineup for the singing of O Canada. A beautiful rendition of the anthem rang out, sung by Holy Trinity student Nicole Pedota, who did an amazing job in both English and French.

The flag bearers were overjoyed with participating in the night’s activities and wanted to include their thanks:

“When I got onto the ice and heard them say my name, I got so excited. It was really cool to meet some of the players. Thank you, Travis, for helping us to be able to do this.” — Kaiden, Bradford

“What a thrilling experience it was to carry the flag for the Rattlers. My favourite part was when Balazs (goalie) told me I did a great job and gave me a stick bump.” — Mason, Bradford

“Such an amazing experience for local kids to be able to be a part of. A night to remember for Kaiden.” — Samantha Taylor, Bradford

After defeating Temiscaming in games 1 and 2, the night would prove that the Titans were not ready to concede things to the Rattlers quite yet. They proved this with an evenly matched first period. The Rattlers would start the game off with a goal by Stepan Levitskiy (No. 14) 4:14 into the period, assisted by Jesper Eriksson (No. 8), which would be later challenged by a Titans goal on the power play by Gadel Khismatullin (No. 14) and assisted by Jericho Mongrain (No. 58) at 7:54. The Rattlers would regain the lead at 11:43 with a goal by Tanner Skrypnyk (No. 27), assisted by Jesper Eriksson and Dylan DiTomaso (No. 2). However, the Titans would tie up the game in the last minutes of the first period with a goal by Thomas LaForge (No. 18) at 18:22, assisted by Nico Gregoire (No. 26) and Nathan Hardy (No. 86).

The second period would see the Titans dominate early, controlling the puck and zone for nearly the first half of the period. They would take the lead with a goal at 5:59 by Michael Stegmann (No. 62), assisted by Maxime Lavoie (No. 12). With the Rattlers having few shots in the first half, they would still manage to drain the puck at 7:23 with a goal by Jesper Eriksson (No. 8), assisted by Jacob Rhodin (No. 91) and Tanner Skrypnyk (No. 27).
Battling hard against each other, the Rattlers would continue to rally with multiple shot attempts, earning them a goal on the only power play of the period for both teams. The goal was scored at 18:13, the second of the night by Tanner Skrypnyk (No. 27), assisted by Georgi Trofflmov (No. 16) and Dylan DiTomaso (No. 2).

Starting with a 4-3 lead in the third, the stands were quiet and on edge as the Titans goaltender stopped shot after shot. The Titans would receive the only goal of the period at 8:22 by Gadel Khismatullin, assisted by Nico Gregoire and Thomas LaForge, to tie the game at 4-4.

Temiscaming would take an interference penalty at the end of the third period, resulting in a five-on-four overtime power-play opportunity for the Bradford Rattlers. Battling hard, the Rattlers would sink the puck deep at 18:01 into overtime by Danila Fillippov (No. 4), assisted by Jacob Rhodin (No. 91) and Jesper Eriksson (No. 8) to obtain the game-winning goal.

The three stars of the game:

  • Temiscaming Titans’ No. 31 Eloi Bouchard — 63 saves, .926 save percentage
  • Bradford Rattlers’ No. 8 Jesper Eriksson — one goal, three assists
  • Bradford Rattlers’ No. 27 Tanner Skrypnyk — two goals, one assist