By: Adam Kulak

In a potential 1st round preview, the Saints come back in the 3rd period and hang on to beat Drayton Valley 3-2 here at Grant Fuhr Arena, extending their win streak to 5 games.  Jaxsen Wyatt and Cole Basnett would both return to the lineup in this one after missing the last few with injuries.  Matt Davis would get his 32nd start of the season as the Saints would look to sweep the season series with the Drayton Valley Thunder.

The Saints get the start that they wanted in this game but not quite the result on the scoreboard.  They possessed the puck for a lot of the period to start and they created a bunch of good looks in prime scoring areas.  They were great at generating chances by gaining the offensive zone with possession, but they couldn’t solve Rory Dumelie in the period.  The Thunder would get the first goal of the game from a Jake Aston shot off the rush that Davis couldn’t quite control.  Two minutes later, Jordan Biro would catch Bailey Tamminga up high for a double minor, but the Saints penalty killers did a great job, keeping it a one goal game.  Not much else happened in the period as the shots were 14-12 Saints after 20 minutes of play.

A little bit more happened in the second period, and not just on the scoring sheet.  Ryan Piva would put the Thunder up 2-0 on a scramble in front but Ryan Peckford would answer back a minute later.  He would let a shot go down the left wing that would find its way through Dumelie to get the Saints on the board.  48 minutes in penalties in the period as things would get heated between these teams, especially late in the period.  Cam Mitchell would get dangerously cross checked into the boards from behind and that would draw a big crowd.  The next play, Cole Basnett and Dexton Mozell would drop the gloves behind the Saints net in a spirited tilt.  Bad blood was being developed between these two teams in this period and that’s how the period would end.  The Saints outshot them 12-7 in the period but would head into the 3rd trailing by one.

The Saints came out and put the pressure on right away in the final period.  They did a great job in this game, stopping plays in the neutral zone and counter attacking with speed.  Especially in the 3rd, they generated a ton of chances off the rush as well as off the cycle.  It wouldn’t take long for the Saints to swing the score in their favor.  Just over 2 minutes in, Nick Leyer would bang in the loose puck on the goal line to tie up the game.  A little bit later, the Saints would get a powerplay opportunity as Ryan Piva would go off for cross checking.  After some good puck movement, Logan Ganie would get the puck at the top of the circle and beat Rory Dumelie top corner to give the Saints their first lead of the night.  Drayton Valley got a couple opportunities, but they couldn’t get much going after that as the Saints shut it down in the neutral zone.  The Thunder could only muster 3 shots in the 3rd period as the Saints would hold on for the 3-2 victory.

The Saints would win the special teams battle in this game, going 5/5 on the PK and getting the only powerplay goal of the night.  Peckford was terrific in this game, generating so many chances every time he was on the ice.  All the blueliners were great in this game, they didn’t allow Drayton Valley a lot of controlled zone entries and they made several nice stretch passes to the forwards, jump starting the Saints attack.

The Saints will hit the road tomorrow for a battle with the Lloydminster Bobcats, they will welcome the Bobcats to the Grant Fuhr Arena this Sunday afternoon, puck drop at 2:00 PM.