By: Adam Kulak

The Spruce Grove Saints started off the post-trade deadline part of their season in the right way, blowing the Grande Prairie Storm out of the Grant Fuhr Arena with a 7-2 win last night.  The Saints were honored to have Hudson Pedlar in attendance for the game as well as having him drop the ceremonial first puck in front of a crowd of 1,063.  After being acquired by the Saints over the last couple of days, Mackenzie Harden and Ryan Peckford both made their anticipated Saints debuts tonight, looking to add depth and fire power up front for the Saints down the stretch and into the playoffs.

The Saints came out on fire in the opening 20 minutes of this game.  They controlled possession for much of the period and put a ton of pressure on the Storm in the offensive zone.  4 minutes in, Stanley Cooley would get the Saints on the board first, off a deflection of Evan Wood’s point shot.  Just a couple minutes later, Logan Ganie found Cameron Chin at the top of the circle and he would beat Storm netminder Kaeden Lane to give the Saints a 2-0 lead early in this one.  The Saints generated a lot of controlled entries and were able to get good sustained zone time off it throughout the game.  It would only take 13:20 into Ryan Peckford’s Saints career to get his first goal.  He would bang in the rebound at the side of the net off Mitchells shot to extend the Saints lead to 3 after 20 minutes.  Shots were 13-8 for the Saints in the opening period.

Despite Grande Prairie getting the only goal, the Saints would continue to dominate the game, outshooting the Storm 13-2 in the middle frame.  There was probably only 6 or 7 minutes played at 5v5 the whole period as there were a lot of penalties for each team.  The Storm would make the most of their two shots 4 minutes in as Zach Okabe would burst down the wing to put it out front for Zach Webb for the Storm’s first goal of the game.  The rest of the period was 5v4, 4v5, and 4v4 central but the Saints did an excellent job when they were on the penalty kill not letting Grande Prairie set up for very long at all on any of their powerplays.  Seth Fyten was a beast on the Penalty Kill, blocking a ton of passes, generating time in the offensive zone and even drawing a penalty while shorthanded.  The shots were 26-10 after 40 as the Saints would carry a 3-1 lead heading into the third.

The Saints continued their onslaught of the Storm in the third period with 4 more goals in the final 20 minutes.  Grande Prairie struggled defending the blueline all game long, making it way too easy for the Saints to get into the offensive zone, which is how they got a lot of their zone time in this game.  After his goal in the first, Peckford returned the favour to Cam Mitchell with a back-door pass to make it 4-1.  Just seconds later, Logan Ganie would put in his first of two on the night off the rush to make it 5-1 early in the period.  Noah Corson would add one more to make it 5-2, but the Saints would put away two more to secure the 7-2 win convincingly here at Grant Fuhr Arena.  Logan Ganie would get his 2nd of the night and he would also set up Tanner Hickey for a sweet play on the 7th goal.

Big nights all around for the Saints as Logan Ganie was terrific with 4 points on the night.  Ryan Peckford had quite the first game with a goal and an assist, he and Cam Mitchell looked to be developing chemistry all night long.  Even though he didn’t find the back of the net in this one, Mackenzie Harden had a really strong game as well.  He was all over the ice, creating plays and showcasing his speed and skill on multiple occasions.  Cameron Chin was terrific on the backend with a goal and a helper as well as being rock solid defensively.  Matt Davis wasn’t too busy tonight, but he had a couple point blank saves in this one, robbing one or two sure goals that might’ve given Grande Prairie a little life.

The Saints are back in action Friday the 18th in Canmore to take on the Eagles.  They are back home Wednesday the 23rd as they welcome the Drumheller Dragons to town, puck drop at 7:00pm.