The Grand Forks Border Bruins can thank starting goaltender Shane Zilka’s left pad for the one point that separates them from the Castlegar Rebels and which is precariously keeping the Grand Forks team in the playoff hunt.
With four games to go now, Zilka’s great first-period toe saves in last Thursday’s tie against the Fernie Ghostriders could be part of what decides whether or not the Border Bruins play any hockey past Feb. 22, their last regular season game.
Trailing 3-1 after the first period against Fernie (thanks to a couple goals by the visitors that left Zilka staring down odd-man rushes), Grand Forks had it all to in the second and third. A slick behind-the-back pass from breakout forward Kyle Bailey to team scoring leader Elvis Slack in the second started the comeback, before Wyatt Gelinas made the game 4-3 Fernie going into the third. Team captain Rilee Poffenroth (who was given the ‘C’ after former captain Liam Stalwick got injured for the season last fall), bagged the tying goal.
Two five-minute overtime periods solved nothing between the teams, who split the points at the end of the night.
The rest of the Border Bruins’ weekend leaves followers on their toes about how they will perform if they do manage to squeak into the playoffs. Friday saw the team fall 7-1 to league powerhouse the Kimberley Dynamiters (who have 44 more points than Grand Forks), while on Sunday the Border Bruins traded goals with division leaders the Beaver Valley Nitehawks, only to lose in overtime 4-3.
The Border Bruins play the Castlegar Rebels on Feb. 14 in Grand Forks in what could be a season-deciding matchup.