Grande finish for North

WES GILBERTSONSUN MEDIA

, Last Updated: 11:52 AM ET

Zahn Raubenheimer must've figured Connor Hardowa had already had his fill of the hero role.

Hardowa rushed to join Raubenheimer on an overtime breakaway, but the Grande Prairie Storm sniper elected to shoot and picked the top shelf, as the North Division erased a five-goal deficit and stormed back for a 14-13 victory in front of nearly 1,000 fans at yesterday's Alberta Junior Hockey League all-star showcase at Max Bell Centre.

A tic-tac-toe passing play would've also done the trick, but Raubenheimer's decision to fire the puck didn't bother the Spruce Grove Saints captain one bit.

"He's more of a shootout man than I am," Hardowa said. "Anything greasy sitting around the net, I think I was going to bang that home, but I guess we didn't need that."

Hardowa, known more for his rugged defence than his offensive prowess, was credited with a big assist after Sherwood Park Crusaders winger Nik Yaremchuk deflected his slapshot into the top corner to even the score with just 1.2 ticks left on the clock.

Hardowa picked up another assist on the game-winner, and Raubenheimer made it clear his decoy played a huge role in ending the high-scoring affair.

"I thought maybe I should slow down and hit him for the one-timer," Raubenheimer said. "But as soon as I looked back, I saw the goalie kind of edge out and as soon as he edged out, I thought this is my time to shoot and catch him off-guard."

It worked.

Raubenheimer finished with a pair of goals for the North squad, while Crusaders teammates Yaremchuk and Nick Blair both had hat-tricks.

Olds Grizzlys sharpshooter Brance Orban -- the AJHL's leading sniper -- stole the show for the South, notching a hat-trick and three assists. He, too, was quick to deflect the praise.

"I just had to put it in a few times and they just had to put it in the other times," Orban shrugged. "Pretty simple, I guess."

Matt Williams of the Brooks Bandits had a pair of tallies, while Grizzlys defenceman chipped in with a goal and three assists for the South, who had the potential game-winning marker waved off in overtime because the net had been knocked off its moorings.

Canucks speedster John Dunbar and Royals captain Jeff Collett had one goal apiece in front of the hometown fans.

"It's definitely a different style of game -- It's tough to adapt," Hardowa said. "But it's fun, I think, just to give these guys some space and let them show off their talent."


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