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Thursday, 14 March 2013 15:40

DeBrusk the fifth overtime lone scorer for the win

Written by  Brad Brown
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Jake DeBrusk followed up the biggest goal of his life with one of his biggest hits.

“I jumped up, did a Nail (Yakupov), like after he scored against Los Angeles, except I was sliding on one knee and fist pumping,” the Swift Current Broncos prospect said Sunday from Edmonton.
“I slid all the way through our own zone, jumped into our goalie and he fell because I rocked him so hard.”
DeBrusk was the hero March 6 for the SSAC Athletics when they beat Sherwood Park in the do-or-die Game 4 of their Alberta AAA Midget Hockey League division semifinal.
The 16-year-old forward’s goal in the fifth overtime gave the Athletics a 1-0 win. It came on a behind-the-net feed from teammate Giorgio Estephan that left DeBrusk one-on-one with a Kings defenceman.
“He thought for sure I was just shooting and I (toe-dragged) him, went backhand, forehand and scored,” said DeBrusk. “And then I just went nuts.”
DeBrusk wasn’t the only one.
“Seeing how our guys reacted, I haven’t seen a dressing room like that after a game before,” said Athletics head coach Dan Glegloff. “I’ve been a part of two provincial championship teams and I think the guys were more excited after that game.”
So not your typical ugly-as-sin fifth-OT goal or your typical celebration for that matter.
But there was more to the story yet for DeBrusk, picked by the Broncos in the seventh round of the 2011 WHL Bantam Draft.
He’d already taken a boarding penalty in the second overtime and been stoned cold on a penalty shot in the fourth.
“I just shoved it right into the goalie’s blocker,” he recalled.
To be fair, DeBrusk wasn’t the only one who’d done that.
Sherwood Park goalie Tommy Nixon turned aside 68 shots in a row before DeBrusk’s winner.
Initially, it was a shock to the system for a team that averaged almost five goals per game during the regular season and was shut out just once.
“Oh my goodness, it just went on and on and on,” said DeBrusk, whose heroics even earned him a congratulatory tweet from Edmonton Oilers winger Ryan Jones - a hunting buddy of DeBrusk’s dad.
“I never thought the game would end. We were dominating most of the play but their goalie was rock solid. He wasn’t giving out too many rebounds.”
Any fears of an emotional letdown after the win evaporated early in Game 5 when the Athletics scored two first-period goals en route to a 3-0 series-clinching win.
Sunday they picked up where they left off, beating Lloydminster 2-1 in double overtime to claim Game 1 of their best-of-five division final.
“Sometimes we can go out there and everything goes in, and sometimes we have to work for it a little more,” said Glegloff. “What (the five-OT game) did was help us understand how to play in the playoffs. Our guys have really stepped up their game.”
DeBrusk finished second in the AMHL with both 25 goals and 52 points, trailing only teammate Riley Simpson.
His dramatic dangle won’t likely be his last as an Athletic - there are still playoff games to be played - but DeBrusk’s coach suspects it will be pretty close.
“I don’t think we’ll be getting him back next year for sure,” Glegloff said, likening DeBrusk to a younger Ryan Nugent-Hopkins. “He does have WHL skill, it’s just a matter of him continuing to grow and being strong enough for that league, and I think in another five or six months — he’ll be ready.
“He’s definitely smart enough and skilled enough to play at that level. Hopefully he gets the opportunity.”

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