Birds win thrilling double overtime win

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INNISFAIL – The Innisfail Eagles put on a show-stopping comeback 6 – 5 double overtime win against the Stony Plain Eagles Friday night at the Innisfail Twin Arena.

“We didn’t quit. We played the same way; we just kept coming and kept coming,” said head coach Brian Sutter. “It showed a lot of character.”

Stony Plain opened the scoring late in the first period and took a 2-0 lead early in the second frame, before Dan Nichols scored a short-handed marker at the halfway point to get Innisfail on the board and cut Stony Plain’s lead by one.

“We needed a spark,” said Nichols. “We got a quick rush, jumped up and we got on the board. That really boosted us to keep us alive for the rest of the period.

“We had good offence from all lines once we got a good mix going tonight,” he added. “We have the group of guys that can do well. We put ourselves in a pinch and then we found a way to win.”

Former NHL player Kevin Smyth, who is usually behind the bench for the Birds, was on the ice for the first time in two years. He netted Innisfail’s fifth goal.

“We just stuck with it in the third. They got one and we fought back. It was a great team win for us tonight,” said Smyth.

Innisfail struggled through the second period and found themselves down 4-1 after 40 minutes. The Birds managed to lessen Stony’s lead by two with their second tally of the night. Stony Plain netted their fifth goal with just six minutes remaining in the final frame.

Seconds later, with 5:44 left on the clock, Innisfail went on the power play. It proved to be a turning point as the Birds netted three goals and tied the game at five with 1:20 left.

The game went to double overtime where Innisfail’s Ty Clay netted the winning goal. The Innisfail Eagles also had contributions from Kyle Dorowicz and Tyler Beechey.

Friday’s game included the Eagles’ annual stuffy toy and tuque toss, where about six bags of toys and tuques were collected for the Innisfail and District Christmas Bureau.

“It’s great,” said Lynn Holinski from the bureau. “Every child gets a stocking stuffer bag and every child gets a stuffy toy, a tuque and mittens along with other items in their stocking,” she added.

“Innisfail has been very supportive. It makes our job that much easier.”

Brian Sutter, head coach for the Innisfail Eagles

“We didn’t quit. We played the same way, we just kept coming and kept coming. It showed a lot of character.”

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Kristine Jean

Kristine Jean is a reporter with the Innisfail Province, joining the newspaper in 2013. She covers Penhold municipal politics, news and community events as well as sports in and around the town as well as in Innisfail.