HOME GAME 18 RECAP: SAINTS HOLD OFF EAGLES 1-0.
By: Adam Kulak
After a rough outing against the Okotoks Oilers 24 hours ago, the Saints respond with a much better performance in this one to get their 24th win of the season over the Canmore Eagles. Bourlai would still serve the 3rd game of a 7-game suspension and Trentham would not quite be clear to play. With Babichuk and Biro also being injured last game, Jaxsen Wyatt would draw back in on defense and Carter Myrol would make his Saints debut after being called up. Matt David would get the start on back to back nights as the Saints would welcome Canmore for their first and only meeting here in Spruce Grove.
It wasn’t a super eventful opening period as it would stay scoreless after 20 with only one penalty going to Canmore. The Saints had a better start in this one as they outshot the Eagles 5-2 in the first half of the period. They were moving the puck better and they had multiple shifts where they had good pressure over Canmore. It was still a little shaky as the period went on, the Saints still had a few problems breaking the puck out, but they were defending well off the rush, closing gaps on Canmore’s forwards. Both teams generated high quality chances around the net but both Matt Davis and Eagles netminder Logan Dyck shut the door after 20 as the period would end scoreless, the shots after 1 were 8-6 in favor of the Saints.
1:54 into the second period, it would be the Saints who would strike first. Parker Saretsky let a shot go off a cross crease pass from Cam Mitchell and Cole Basnett would get the rebound on the doorstep to make it 1-0. The Saints were moving their feet in this period and they were being rewarded for it with a 1-0 lead. They weren’t allowing nearly as many high-quality opportunities and when they did, Matt Davis shut the door. That would be the only scoring in the period as it has been an evenly played game so far in this one. Shots in the period were 8-8 as the Saints head into the final 20 minutes with the lead.
This game came right down to the wire as the Saints would have to kill off three minors in the third. The Saints had a much better game in this one, it wasn’t perfect, but they were more aggressive in this one without the puck. The final shots in this one were 26-23 for the Eagles. Cameron Chin would go off for holding with 2 minutes left and the Eagles gave everything they had in the dying minutes, but Davis and the Saints killed it off by the skin of their teeth. The Saints hit so many posts and crossbars in this game, especially in the third, that it could have been a bigger lead, but they couldn’t find that insurance marker. Lucky for them, they wouldn’t need it on a night where Matt Davis decided that the puck stops here. He was brilliant in this one and came up big when called upon, securing his 3rd shutout of the season and securing the 1-0 win for the Saints here at Grant Fuhr Arena.
The Saints are back in action Friday, January 11th as they host the Grande Prairie Storm, Puck drop at 7:00pm.