(STORY BY BRENDAN PAWLIW)
It was a tough end to the 2017 WHL Playoffs for two former Cariboo Cougars.
20-year old Quesnel product Ryan Gagnon and 18-year Griffen Outhouse of Likely along with the Victoria Royals lost in heartbreaking fashion to the Everett Silvertips on Sunday losing 3-2 in a record-setting five-overtime affair which is now the longest in WHL and CHL history.
Gagnon says he looks favorably on that game, despite the early exit. “I think looking back it’s a good way to go out and something you’ll remember for the rest of your life. Everett played a good series and a good team. It was a great experience.”
In his final season of junior hockey, Gagnon broke the club record for games played with 320 breaking the previous mark of 318 which was previously set by his former teammate Brandon Magee.
Gagnon is hoping all his hard work over the past five years leads to another opportunity elsewhere. “Hopefully get a pro tryout somewhere but if not, I will be taking advantage of some university opportunities.”
Outhouse, on the other hand, wrapped up his second season in Victoria, his first as the Royals starting netminder posting a 2.85 GAA followed by a .915 save percentage to go along with 34 victories.
He playoff numbers didn’t suffer either as he recorded an outstanding 2.10 GAA and a .923 save percentage while posting a 2-2-2 record.
Outhouse says losing that overtime marathon was a tough pill to swallow.
“It was heartbreaking to lose that game going into the eighth period and fifth overtime, the guys were just battling in front of me and it was kind of a lucky bounce with a guy streaking the other way. It was a nice shot but kind of devastating that your season is over.”
He adds his most recent game reminded him of another memorable moment just two years ago.
“When I was with the Cariboo Cougars we won the Macs Tournament in Calgary against Regina and I think it was 2-1 in double overtime and was definitely comparable to a do or die game. Both games the players played really good in front of me and it would have been nice to get this last one. Going into the second OT, it was just the second time I’ve ever been that far in a game and I thought okay well the last time I was here we ended up winning the Macs so maybe it’ll be something similar.”
Outhouse says it was a surreal feeling to be part of such a record setting game against the Silvertips.
“It was definitely cool. There were lots of jokes going around even in the intermission as we were just tired and we wanted to score and kind of embracing the moment. We got what we came here for as we got the record for the longest game but even though we came out on the wrong side of it having your name in the history books is unbelievable and to be with this organization is a lot of fun.”
The Silvertips won the best of seven Western Conference Quarter-final 4-2.