The Western Conference Strathroy Rockets and the Golden Horseshoe Conference Thorold Blackhawks skated to the first ever double overtime scoreless draw in the history of the Greater Ontario Junior Hockey League. The game was played on September 13, 2015 at the Western Fair Community Centre in London, Ontario. Earning the shutouts were Mat Ouellet (Strathroy) and Fraser Kirk (Thorold). Making the calls was Chris Soares of 105.7 myFM Strathroy.
Thorold outshot Strathroy 39-33. Both clubs failed to convert on 4 powerplay opportunities.
History Is Made In Game Between By Thorold and Strathroy – by C. Scott Holland
It was bound to happen sometime this season. With the removal of the shootout and the addition of a three-on-three, second overtime frame, somewhere along the way a tied game would occur. But no-one expected it to happen in such spectacular fashion or with a team that certainly struggled defensively in their opening contest. Yet the Strathroy Rockets and Thorold Blackhawks ended their Sunday match tied thus becoming the first teams to earn a tied game in nearly a decade of GOJHL action.
But it has been a much greater amount of time since the West Conference had a tied game.
The very last tied games in West Conference play were during the 1997/98 campaign.
Strathroy’s final tied game took place on Oct. 5, 1997 when they tied the St. Marys Lincolns in a game at Strathroy. The West’s very last tied game was a 2-2 draw between the Tecumseh Chiefs and the Leamington Flyers on Feb. 5, 1998.
But there was more history to the Strathroy-Thorold game than just being the first tied game of the new double overtime era. It goes down as a scoreless tie as well. And that in itself is as rare as anything in hockey gets.
In West Conference history there have been only three previous games ending as being scoreless.
The Chatham Maroons and London Diamonds skated to a scoreless draw on Feb. 4, 1980 but at that time there was no OT to decide a winner.
On Jan. 18, 1987, the St. Marys Lincolns knotted the Chatham Maroons at 0-0 after an OT frame.
Since the advent of the shootout (1998/99), the Sarnia Bees and London Nationals played a scoreless game through OT and then Sarnia won it 1-0 in a shootout.
The St. Marys Lincolns and Chatham Maroons engaged in a scoreless draw including OT on Nov. 25, 2005 but the Lincs won 1-0 on a shootout goal (note: current Lincs’ coach Merlin Malinkowski was the Lincs coach in that contest.)
The last game to conclude in regulation time as a scoreless tie was on Jan. 23, 2011 when the Leamington Flyers and Strathroy Rockets turned the feat. The Rockets won the game 1-0 on a goal by Walter Easter in OT.
While each team gains a point for the tie, goalies Mat Ouellet of Strathroy and Fraser Kirk of Thorold are also credited with shutouts.
Certainly this match proves the value of a tied game and proves that the new second OT can make the game as exciting as ever.