It took more than 60 minutes of hockey for the Radisson Wheat Kings to finish off the Battleford Beaver Blues and advance to the Saskatchewan Prairie Hockey League finals.
A goal scored by Kenton Haugrud beat Glenn Heidt midway through a second overtime period earned Radisson a 5-4 win and a date with the Maymont Settlers in the finals next week.
Haugrud scored the winning goal shortly after returning to the ice from serving a two-minute minor and 10-minute misconduct penalty for checking to the head, a penalty that had put the Blues on the power play with 1:24 left in the first overtime period.
But the Blues failed to capitalize on that opportunity, and that came back to haunt them as Haugrud's goal sent the Blues packing for the season, losing the series three games to one.
The game was tight and hard-fought the entire way and both sides had moments where it looked as if they had their opponents on the ropes.
Battleford held a 3-2 lead late in the third, only to see Radisson score two goals to take a 4-3 lead with 1:13 left. But Lee Ulmer's unassisted goal with 53 seconds left tied it again at 4-4. The two teams got through their 10 ten-minute overtime session before Radisson won it during the second 20-minute OT session.
Radisson opened the scoring in the game at Battleford Arena, taking a 1-0 lead on a shorthanded goal by Dana Derbowka with assists to Troy Rookes and Corey Anderson with 6:21 left in the period.
Battleford tied it up late in the period as Brett Michnik's shot beat Nathan Wurst in net for Radisson. Dillon Friesen and Lee Ulmer got the assists.
In the second, the Blues took the lead at 8:57 on a goal by Peter Chandler, with Dustin Dmytryshyn the assist.
The third period saw a flurry of action. Radisson tied it at the 1;50 mark on Joey Mychan's goal that went high into the net.
Then with over seven minutes left, the Blues took the lead again as Michnik got his second of the game from Friesen and Lorne Pewap.
It appeared the Blues were going to force a game five deciding game in Radisson at that point, but Radisson spoiled those plans by tying it up again with under six minutes left. Derbowka got his second of the game from Payden Jonescu.
It looked like the game was headed to overtime until an unassisted Troy Rookes goal with 1:13 left prompted a wild celebration on the Radisson bench.
That gave the Wheat Kings a 4-3 lead and suddenly the Blues were on the ropes. But the home side rose to the occasion and notched an unassisted marker by Ulmer just 20 seconds later to tie it up again and force the lengthy double-overtime session.
That overtime finally ended with Haugrud moving in all alone on Heidt for the unassisted game winner to end the Blues season.
It was a tough end for the Blues in the inaugural season of the SPHL, but they can at least go out with their heads held high following a hard-fought series with the Wheat Kings.
Radisson now takes on their rivals from down the highway, Maymont, who finished off Saulteaux in three games in their opening round series.