Gladstone Lakers coach Dale Evenson promised a good, close series heading into the Tiger Hills Hockey League East Division Finals, and that's exactly what fans have received two games in.
The Lakers, ranked fourth coming into the playoffs, split games with the top-ranked Carberry Plainsmen this past weekend to begin the series tied 1-1.
Lakers 6 at Plainsmen 5 (OT)
You may as well call him 'Mr. Playoffs'.
Blaine Jarvis, who now has 37 points in 9 playoff games, continued his torrid scoring spree this post-season with a four-goal night Friday night in Carberry to lead Gladstone to an overtime win in Game 1 against the Plainsmen.
Jarvis opened the scoring, while teammate Dan Leslie added another to give Gladstone a 2-0 lead less than 10 minutes into the game. The Plainsmen's Cory Rae responded to bring Carberry within a goal by period's end.
The second period then saw teams exchange a pair of goals – Ryan Halliday and Blayne Fisher scoring for Carberry, while Jarvis scored twice for Gladstone – to end 40 minutes with Gladstone up 4-3.
Carberry poured it on to start the final frame though, with Zeanan Zimmer and Fisher scoring within the first five minutes, to give the Plainsmen their first lead of the game at 5-4 with 15 minutes remaining.
Guess who ensured that didn't last long; Jarvis responded about five minutes later with his fourth of the game, and Tyler Harland scored the overtime winner to clinch the 6-5 win for Gladstone.
Devon Ford made 27 saves in the win while Kevin Kauk made 34 saves in the losing effort.
Tyler Waldvogel added a three assist night for Gladstone.
Plainsmen 7 at Lakers 6
In another one-goal game, Gladstone did its best Rocky Balboa impression as they tried to complete a late-game comeback as the underdogs, but it was Carberry who was able to escape with a 7-6 win to tie the series.
The first period saw a flurry of goals scored, with the two teams deadlocked at 3-3 after 20 minutes. Zeanan Zimmer, Ryan Halliday and Keaton Turner scored for Carberry while Blaine Jarvis, Lyndon Soper and Ryan Laing found the net for Gladstone.
Carberry then took a 5-4 lead after 40 minutes, when Jarvis scored a goal in between markers from Carberry's Jeremy Champagne and Riley Day.
Carberry then pulled ahead for good, with Jordan Robertson and Curtis Broland both scoring under four minutes into the third period to give the Plainsmen a commanding 7-4 lead.
That's where the comeback attempt started – Dan Leslie notched a goal with just over seven minutes remaining, while Evyi Hanneson added another with just over four minutes left to give the hometown crowd some hope – but the Plainsmen squashed the comeback there to secure a 7-6 win.
Hanneson finished the night with two assists and three points, while Waldvogel totaled five assistes and Jarvis had a two-goal, three-assist evening.
Devon Ford took the loss in net for Gladstone while Brett Friesen earned the win for the Plainsmen.
The best-of-five series will resume tonight, Wednesday, March 12 in Carberry, return to Gladstone on Thursday at 8 p.m., and then head back to Carberry for a Game 5 if necessary on Saturday night with an 8 p.m. start time.