HOME GAME 12 RECAP: SAINTS PULL OUT 3-2 WIN OVER DRAYTON VALLEY.
By: Adam Kulak
The Spruce Grove Saints took it to the Thunder all night long and stuck with it to pull out the 3-2 win here at Grant Fuhr Arena. Logan Ganie, Cam Mitchell and Brett Trentham would be sidelined with injuries and Jake Ashton, Liam Hughes and Graham Gamache would draw back into the lineup. Matthew Davis would get the start in goal again as the Saints would look to win their third straight game.
A good opening 20 minutes for the Saints as they applied lots of pressure to Drayton Valley. The big difference was the Saints forecheck and aggressive play in the Neutral Zone. The Thunder had a tough time exiting their zone cleanly and transitioning up ice, which led to minimal offensive zone time. 5 minutes in, Brayden Iwaschuk went off for hooking, the Saints had good looks but couldn’t take advantage on the powerplay. They would have to kill off two minors as the period went on and did so successfully, holding the Thunder to just 1 shot on both powerplays combined. The shots were 7-3 for Spruce Grove but no one could find the back of the net as the 1st period would end 0-0.
It was a very one-sided period in the second as the Saints outshot Drayton Valley 20-3 in the middle frame. The Thunder couldn’t establish any zone time and didn’t get a shot on goal for the first 12 minutes of the period. The Saints would get three straight powerplays in the period, Luke Lush was on fire in this game and kept the game scoreless for as long as he can. But eventually on the third powerplay, the Saints finally got one past him. Newly acquired forward Cole Basnett banged in the rebound on the doorstep for his 9th of the season and his 1st as a Spruce Grove Saint. Drayton Valley couldn’t get out of the period fast enough as it would stay 1-0 after 40 minutes, 27-6 would be the total shots after two.
After a strong 40 minutes, things started to fall apart a bit in the first 5 minutes of the 3rd. Drayton Valley came out hard in the 3rd and shocked the Saints and the fans with two quick goals in 3 minutes to take a 2-1 lead. Matthew Kinash and Jacob Charko both banged in goals around the net as they would put the Saints on their heels. The Saints found their legs again as the period went on, they turned up the pressure again in the offensive zone, being first to pucks and making it hard for Drayton to break out. It would be a fortunate bounce for the Saints that would tie it up with 9 minutes to play. Jaxen Wyatt’s point shot would bounce off the back boards and over the net and Jordan Biro would bat the puck in for his 4th of the season. The shots in the 3rd were 9-8 for Drayton Valley and 35-15 after 60 minutes.
Biro would tie the game up and he would also be the hero in Overtime, as he would make a move on Luke Lush and the puck would just slide over the goal line as the Saints would win 3-2 and improve to 20-8-1 on the season. It would have been a much bigger win if Luke lush didn’t play the way he did. The Saints took it to the Thunder all game long, Drayton Valley didn’t have any lengthy offensive zone time until the 3rd period. The Saints and the defence did an excellent job at stopping the controlled entries in the neutral zone and getting pucks back in their own zone. Although there were nervous moments in the final 20 minutes, the Saints pulled it out in thrilling fashion.
The Saints are back in action tomorrow night as they are in Fort McMurray to take on the Oil Barons. They are back home Wednesday, December 5th as they Welcome the Sherwood Park Crusaders, puck drop at 7:00pm.