Bret Norman’s unassisted goal with 14 seconds left in the game gave the hometown Dawson Creek Canucks a thrilling 5-4 win over the Grande Prairie Athletics Thursday night, and helped the club clinch its first division title in 17 years.
DC also won the Lawrence Cup in 2001-02, and previously in 1998-99. The Lawrence Cup is given to the club with the most points in the NPHL standings.
DC can win the Lawrence Cup again this season. They lead the Falher Pirates by three points. DC has 2 games left, FAL 3.
Interesting to note, DC hosts FAL on the final night of the regular season in DC on Feb. 2.
The NPHL does not use win percentages to determine the Lawrence Cup winner; only total points.
By placing first in the West, DC earns a first round bye and will play the lowest seed left in the East Division in the NPHL Semi-Final. GP prepares to face the defending champion Fort St. John Flyers in the playoffs set to begin Tuesday, Feb. 5. GP has home ice advantage.
DC led 1-0 after one period on Norman’s first of the night.
In the second period, GP took a 3-1 lead on goals from Lyndin Lewis, Tyrone Kipling and former Canuck Tyrell Mason.
However, Frederic Tanguay’s power play goal pulled DC to within one before the end of the period.
The teams battled through the first 10 minutes of the third period scoreless before Evan Weaver tied the game 3-3.
Mark Stojan’s PPG gave GP a 4-3 lead but Matt Schmermund tied the game 4-4, also on a power play, setting up Norman’s heroics.
The DC comeback was remarkable considering that NPHL clubs were 58-4 this season when leading after two periods. GP was 9-1 when leading after two periods, DC was 1-2 when trailing after two.
Athletics 4 at Canucks 5
Thu., Jan. 24
1. DC, Brett Norman 13 (Ryan Friesen, Riley Muise) 4:01
Penalties: Blake Clement GP (elbowing) and Brett Norman DC (holding) 16:36.
2. GP, Lyndin Lewis 3 (Tyrell Mason) 1:40
3. GP, Tyrone Kipling 2 (Tanner Labbe, Mark Stojan) 2:04
4. GP, Tyrell Mason 4 (unassisted) 9:27
5. DC, Frederic Tanguay 2 (Brett Norman, Kevin Swales) 12:58 (pp)
Penalties: Tanner Labbe GP (interference) 5:41, Mark Stojan GP (tripping) 11:42, Brock Clement GP (cross-checking) 16:27, John Wayne Howes DC (cross-checking) 18:27.
6. DC, Evan Weaver 3 (Brett Norman) 10:49
7. GP, Mark Stojan 1 (Morgan McLean, Andrew Buote) 12:48 (pp)
8. DC, Matt Schmermund 14 (Dolan Bjornson, Jonathon Jasper) 16:21 (pp)
9. Brett Norman 14 (unassisted) 19:46
Penalties: Levi George DC (kneeing) 11:25, Braden Crone GP (holding the stick) 15:59, Evan Weaver DC (roughing) 17:21.
Shots on goal:
Grande Prairie 13 18 14 -45
Dawson Creek 18 22 21 -61 Goaltenders: Athletics, Tyler Boe; Canucks, Kenton White.
Power Plays: GP 1-3; DC 2-4.
Penalties in Minutes: GP 10; DC 8.