Eight-second ride

JAMES SCHEWAGA, BRANDON SUN

, Last Updated: 9:07 AM ET

BRANDON, Man. -- The Calgary Hitmen have the Brandon Wheat Kings on the brink of elimination thanks to Derek LeBlanc's quick strike.

LeBlanc scored his second goal of the game eight seconds into overtime last night for a 4-3 victory that gives the Hitmen a 3-2 lead in the Eastern Conference semifinal series.

Calgary can close it out tomorrow at the Saddeldome in Game 6 (5 p.m.).

"The guys in the room never stopped believing," said LeBlanc. "We knew we had to work hard if we were going to come back and be successful in the series and I think the last three games our work ethic's been there and I think that's been huge for us."

Codey Burki scored twice, while former Hitmen defenceman Dustin Kohn and captain Mark Derlago also scored for the Wheat Kings, who opened the series with two victories on home ice but were hammered 8-1 and 5-1 since then.

Ryan White, who opened the scoring on the powerplay 40 seconds in, Robin Figren and Riley Merkley also scored for the Hitmen.

Brandon netminder Tyler Plante made 30 saves, while Dan Spence stopped 26 shots for Calgary, which finished third in the Central Division but upset the second-place Kootenay Ice in seven games in the opening round.

Tied 1-1 after one period, the Wheat Kings took a 3-1 lead after two following Burki's second of the night and Kohn's first career playoff goal.

But the Hitmen replied early in the third period with goals by Merkley and ex-Wheat King LeBlanc 36 seconds apart to even it up 3-3.

"I think we played 20 minutes of hockey," said Calgary coach Kelly Kisio. "I thought they outplayed us for the first two periods badly. We played 20 minutes and we're lucky to get out of here with a win, I thought."


Photos