'Tender gets stronger

CAMERON MAXWELL -- Calgary Sun

, Last Updated: 8:53 AM ET

It won't go down in the books as a shutout for Tyler Plante but it may as well have been.

The Calgary Hitmen got a goal from Jeff Schultz with eight seconds left to burst the bubble as the Brandon Wheat Kings beat Calgary 3-1 last night at the Saddledome and evened up the best-of-seven WHL Eastern Conference semifinal 3-3.

Plante, 17, was a wall in the game, making 32 saves in what was another solid outing for the Wheat Kings rookie.

Afterwards, Plante said the confidence has been steadily building throughout the series, which has seen the Wheaties rally from a 3-1 deficit with two straight triumphs.

"We feel way more confident in the room," said the Eastern Conference rookie of the year nominee.

"It's do or die and our backs are against the wall but we're just playing as hard as we can,"

The young 'tender, who hails from Brandon, was a bit shaky early in the series but has come up big in the last two games.

Last night he flashed the leather and robbed Brodie (Moose) Dupont on the powerplay in the second period.

Then in the third, he kicked out his left pad and stopped a cannon from Ryan Getzlaf.

Plante, who led the Wheat Kings midget team to a national championship last season, said he feels he's getting better and more relaxed with every outing.

That included recovering from a 10-1 drubbing in Game 1 of the series in which he was pulled halfway through.

"With goaltending, as games go on in the playoffs, you get more confident," said Plante, whose brother, Alex, is rookie defenceman with the Hitmen. "The team did a really good job in front of me tonight, minimizing them to the outside and that was a really big part."

With Game 7 going in Brandon tomorrow night (6 p.m.), Plante will be under the biggest spotlight of his WHL career so far and he can't wait.

"We've fought back from being down 3-1 and we're going to be battling hard against them," he said.


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