VERNON, B.C. — Russell’s Derek Falloon could not have asked for a better way to end his junior hockey career Sunday.
Falloon’s goal at 15:01 of overtime sealed the Yorkton Terriers’ first RBC Cup title with a 4-3 victory over the Carleton Place Canadians. He jammed in a rebound to cap Yorkton’s comeback from a 3-1 deficit with less than three minutes left in regulation.
"It’s unbelievable. It’s just the best feeling and I don’t think I’ll ever score a bigger goal than that for the rest of my life," said Falloon, who closed out his junior career.
Falloon’s goal gave the Terriers — coached by Medora native and Southwest Midget AAA Cougars graduate Trent Cassan — their first Canadian Junior A championship in their fifth appearance.
After trailing 3-1 at the end of the second period, the Terriers forced overtime with goals from Tanner Lishchynsky and Dylan Johnson eight seconds apart in the last three minutes of the third period. Daylan Gatzke had Yorkton’s other goal and Kale Thompson made 31 saves.
Anthony McVeigh, Stephen Baylis and Andy Sturtz scored for the Canadians while Therien stopped 42 shots.
Falloon’s overtime winner was his second of the tournament after also scoring in extra time against the Dauphin Kings in the round robin.
"I guess I just happened to be at the right place at the right time," Falloon said. "I’m sure any of the boys could have (done) it. Lucky me, I guess."
Falloon, 21, missed the first three games of this tournament with his third concussion of the season, suffered in the Saskatchewan Junior Hockey League playoffs. He missed most of the Western Canadian championship tournament, from which Yorkton qualified for the RBC Cup.
Terriers general manager Don Chesney said Falloon’s return brought life to Yorkton’s lineup.
"He has a flair for the dramatic," said Chesney. "I joked around (saying) his first (overtime goal) didn’t make the back of the net. (The RBC Cup-winning) one, I think, made it — maybe a few inches over the goal-line. But in 10, 20 years, that’ll be the nicest goal he ever scored and the biggest goal he ever scored."
Falloon received advice from his cousin Pat Falloon, the former NHLer who was drafted second overall by the San Jose Sharks after Eric Lindros in 1991.
"(Pat) was talking to my dad," said Falloon. "We family-farm with him (in Foxwarren) We keep in touch with him. He was texting my dad and telling me to keep calm and just do what I can do."
The RBC Cup adds a second Canadian junior crown to the extended Falloon family. Pat Falloon won a Memorial Cup with the Spokane Chiefs in 1991, when he was named the tournament’s MVP.
Falloon’s hockey future is far from certain, but he knows how he will spend his summer back home in Western Manitoba.
"We’re just going to celebrate, and then I’m going to go back (home)," he said. "I’ve got to get to work on the farm."
NOTES: Los Angeles Kings centre Jarret Stoll sent a congratulatory tweet to Yorkton for reaching the final. Stoll grew up in the Yorkton/Melville area ... Terriers assistant coach John Odgers is the son of former Brandon Wheat King Jeff Odgers.
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