By Adam Kulak

The Saints struggled to find the back of the net for most of the game in this one as they drop a 3-2 decision to the Whitecourt Wolverines.  The Saints injury list continues to grow as they go with 11 forwards and 7 defensemen in this game.  Ben Tkachuk made his Saints home debut tonight after being called up and Matt Davis would get the nod in goal tonight looking for his 11th win of the season.

A very defensive first for most of the period, both teams defended the blueline well and didn’t allow very many controlled zone entries.  Neither team could get much going offensively and couldn’t establish extended zone time.  It would be the Wolverines who would strike first as Spencer Augot fired a shot from the point through a screen to make it 1-0 10 minutes in.  The Saints would get a powerplay opportunity a few minutes later as Jude Butler would go off for slashing.  They couldn’t get much going on the man advantage and they would give one up shorthanded near the end of the powerplay.  Jaedon Leslie would break in and feed Mackenzie Harden on the 2 on 1 backdoor to put the Wolverines up by two.  The Saints shook off the two goals and they got one late in the period to cut the lead in half.  Jaxsen Wyatt with a terrific stretch pass to Dylan Bourlai who out muscled the Wolverine defender while cutting in to beat Tye Morin for his 7th of the season to make it 2-1.  The shots were 9-7 for Spruce Grove as the score would remain 2-1 after 20 minutes.

The game started to open up in the second period, even though there were less goals, there were more controlled zone entries and both teams created more off the rush.  Whitecourt took two more penalties halfway through the period but killed them both off.  Whitecourt has the best Road Penalty Kill in the League for a reason and they showed it tonight.  To make matters worse, Cory Babichuk would go off for hooking with 3 minutes left in the period and Whitecourt would capitalize on their first powerplay opportunity.  With a scramble in front of the Saints net, Ben Evanish would pick up the loose puck in the slot and beat Matt Davis for the 3-1 lead.  Both goaltenders have been sharp in this game, a few breakdowns in the defensive zone for the Saints and Matt Davis bailed them out on multiple occasions.  The Saints had a lot of quality chances in the second, but they didn’t have an answer for Tye Morin who has been terrific in this game as well.  The shots in the period were 14-11 for Spruce grove but they would trail by two after 40 minutes.

The Saints came out and pushed in the third period, they were trying everything to get pucks on net but struggled to get anything going against the Wolverines defense.  The Wolverines were stronger defensively tonight and that was the big difference in this game.  The Saints had too many turnovers and breakdowns in the neutral and defensive zone.  Davis bailed them out a lot tonight, but he couldn’t stop all of them.  The Saints also went 0/3 on the powerplay where as Whitecourt went 1/1.  There were no penalties in the third period as the game was played at 5v5 for the rest of the night.  The Saints would get one late to bring the game to within one.  TJ Lloyd let a shot go from the top of the circle for his 7th of the season with 3 minutes to play.  Shots in the period were 10-10 and 33-28 final for the Saints but Tye Morin was stellar all night.  The Saints tried to tie it up late with Davis on the bench, but Whitecourt kept them in their own zone for a lot of the shift and would close out the 3-2 win here at Grant Fuhr Arena. 

The Saints are back in action Friday night in Brooks to battle the league leading Bandits.  They are back home Wednesday, November 28th as they welcome back the Whitecourt Wolverines for a rematch, puck drop is 7:00pm.