During the regular season when Grande Prairie Storm head coach Matt Keillor looked down the bench for someone to score a big goal in overtime he wasn't looking at Cruz Cote.
Cote's role was that of a grinder. He finished 13th in team scoring with three goals and four assists - behind four defencemen on the team.
But, when it comes to the playoffs you often have to grind out goals and they often come from unexpected sources.
Such was the case on Saturday in Sherwood Park.
Thanks to the 19-year-old Falher product Cote, the Storm have guaranteed themselves of at least one more playoff home game and, more importantly, are a win away from defeating the Sherwood Park Crusaders in a best-of-five Alberta Junior Hockey League North Division quarterfinal playoff.
Cote scored at 1:50 of OT to give the Storm a 2-1 advantage in the series with Game 4 slated for Sherwood Park at 7 p.m. Sunday.
Cote also had an assist, but as good as his night was he was not selected the Away Star.
That honor went to rookie netminder Ethan Slobodzian, who faced 42 shots with one of those coming in the extra period. Slobodzian, who is starting in place of injured veteran Charles-Olivier Levesque, has won two of his first three Junior A playoff starts.
Cote assisted on the game's first goal, off the stick of Noah Walters to give the Storm a 1-0 lead at 9:36 of the first on the powerplay.
It was the first of four PP goals in the opening frame.
The Crusaders got the next two - Arjun Atwal at 10:55 and Tyler Jette at 12:08 - to take a 2-1 lead only to see Edouard Michaud tie it for the Storm on the man advantage with 4:06 to go in the opening frame.
Sherwood Park took a 3-2 lead into the third after Ryan Cox scored at 1:37 of the second frame.
Michaud, with his playoff leading fifth goal, tied the game at 14:18 of the third period setting up the OT and the Cote game-winner.
The Storm went two-for-five on the powerplay and killed off seven of nine Crusader man-advantages. Crusader netminder Bradon Vogel looked at 27 Storm shots.
Next Storm home action will be either Game 5 against the Crusaders on Wednesday at Revolution Place Arena or Games Games 1 & 2 or 3 & 4 of the North semifinal.
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