By Terry Martin
The Spruce Grove Saints played the first of their final two games of the season against the Grande Prairie Storm as they look to sweep the regular season series. The Saints have already clinched 1st place in the North and the 1st round bye in the AJHL playoffs. The Storm are going to finish last place in the North division and will not make it to the playoff bracket this season. Both teams are also on an 8 game winning streak, The Saints were the last team to beat the Storm back at the beginning of February. The last time Spruce Grove visited the Bonnetts Energy Centre, Tristan Martin netted his first goal and the first AJHL goalie goal.
Heading into the last couple games of the year Caiden Gault (71pts), Brett Pfoh (71pts) and Luigi Benincasa (66pts) all sit in the top 10 for points in the AJHL and they all lead the Saints in points.
The 1st period started with a slower pace than the Saints are used to as both teams combined for only 8 shots through the 1st 10 minutes. Edge Lambert would be the one to break the ice as he would score for the Storm with 8:34 left in the opening period. Dayne Tews would then score a power play goal 2 minutes later to give Grande Prairie a 2 goal lead. The Saints would trail the Storm 2-0 on the scoreboard and 7-13 on the shot clock after 20 minutes of play.
The Saints and Storm would continue to trade power plays throughout the period as Spruce Grove looked to cut the Grande Prairie lead in half. The Storm would strike again on the power play, this time Ty Toews would fire the puck into the net from the slot. Luigi Benincasa would then put the Saints on the board with 5 minutes left in the period as he would bury the rebound in front of the net, extending his point streak to 10 games. Spruce Grove would get a goal but still trail by 2 after 2 periods of play. The Saints would fire 6 shots on net for a 2 period total of 13, while the Storm would have 9 for a 2 period total of 22.
Brett Pfoh would open the scoring for the Saints as he snuck the puck through a crowd, cutting the Storm lead to 1. Caden Cabana would then tie the game with 10 minutes remaining in the game after pouncing on the rebound in front of the net. Both teams would battle back and forth for the last goal but would push the game into overtime. After 60 minutes of play both teams would be tied 3-3 on the scoreboard and 29-29 on the shot clock.
After receiving a power play opportunity at the end of regulation, Jayden Davis would be the one to end the game on the man advantage after firing the puck from the top of the circle just 2 minutes into the overtime frame. Final shots in game would favour Spruce Grove 31-29 as the Saints extend their win streak to 9 games and end the Storms impressive win streak.
– Spruce Grove Saints (@sgsaints) February 26, 2022
Both teams will do it all over again tomorrow night for their last game of the AJHL regular season back in Grande Prairie at 6pm.