Steelers close in on title

SCOTT UNGER, FOR SUN MEDIA

, Last Updated: 10:38 AM ET

SELKIRK -- The Selkirk Steelers are closing in on the Manitoba Junior Hockey League title.

Brent Howarth flipped a loose puck that snuck through the pads of Shawn Monette into the Dauphin Kings net just 1:10 into overtime, as the Selkirk Steelers beat the Kings 6-5 last night in Game 4 of the best-of-seven MJHL final.

Selkirk takes a 3-1 series lead to Dauphin tomorrow night for Game 5 and a chance to win the series.

"It was a pretty wild game," Steelers head coach Keith Cassidy said. "I am just happy we came out on the winning end of it."

In the third period, neither team could hold a lead. After Joel Malchuk and Jeff Penner put Dauphin up 4-3 with power-play goals, Russ Payne and Adam Pleskach replied to give Selkirk a 5-4 edge. That lead lasted until Josh Schellenberg tied the game with just 20 seconds left in the third period.

"I thought we were the better team tonight," Kings head coach Marlin Murray said. "I thought we outplayed them, but we just didn't outscore them on the scoreboard and that's what mattered.

"We were flat in the second period. When the day's over here, that's what cost us."

Down 2-0 to start the second period, Steelers Russ Payne and Adam Sergerie brought Selkirk back into the game. Payne scored twice and Sergerie had the other to give Selkirk a 3-2 lead through 40 minutes when he banged a puck past Dauphin's Shawn Monette.

"It didn't expect to get into a game like that (last night)," Payne said. He has six goals in this series with his hat-trick last night.

Payne has been playing with Sergerie all season, but only now has Payne's point totals shot up.

"We've just been clicking," Payne said. "The puck's been going the right way for me and I have to give most of the credit to my linemates."

"We didn't bring our A-game in the first period," Cassidy said. "That was extremely disappointing. I let the guys know that and we responded in the second."

The Kings will face elimination tomorrow night for the second time in the playoffs.

"We're not going to dwell on this," Murray said.

"We came here for two games. Take away the overtimes, we were the best time in five of the six periods."


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