HOME GAME 5 RECAP: SAINTS HAMMER THUNDER 5-0
By: Adam Kulak
In the second game of their three game homestand, the Saints open up in the final 40 minutes and take it to the Drayton Valley Thunder. Big 2 goal games from both Cory Babichuk and Nick Leyer as well as a 20 save shutout from Matthew Davis, powered the Saints to a 5-0 win here on Sunday afternoon.
The Saints started the period strong, the first half of the period they got most chances and offensive zone time. Brett Trentham and Tanner Hickey each took minor penalties in the period, but the Saints penalty killers killed both off. Drayton Valley couldn’t get into the offensive zone cleanly on either one of their powerplays, the Saints took away their passing lanes and forced them to dump pucks in. The second half of the period was much more evenly played. The Saints had a couple turnovers and miscues coming out of their zone and the Thunder were able to generate shots late. Matthew Davis and Thunder goaltender Luke Lush were both solid between the pipes in the period, they both made big saves at big times. Lush kept the Thunder in the game early and Davis made some huge saves late as the Thunder came on and evened out the shot clock. The Saints would go into the intermission with a 0-0 score, shots in the period were 10-10.
Drayton Valley didn’t generate nearly as much in the 2nd as the Saints dominated the period. A couple of penalties early on for both teams but neither team could really get anything going on the powerplay. Back in the lineup tonight, Brett Trentham would get the Saints on the board first. 9 minutes in he would take a feed from Nick Leyer and let a shot go from the top of the circle that found a hole on Luke Lush to give the Saints the first goal of the game. Nick Leyer had a strong period with an assist and he would also line up Thunder player Dexton Mozell behind the Thunder net for the Grove Collision Hit of the Night. At around the 7-minute mark, Cory Babichuk showed off his skating and hands as he would deke out an opposing player at the hashmarks and bury it passed Lush for the 2-0 lead. Shots in the period were 12-3 for the Saints as they controlled the period and would go into the third with a 2-goal lead.
Drayton Valley wouldn’t quit, and they came out strong in the third, but the Saints attack was too strong for them as they would continue to control the game. Bailey Tamminga would go off for roughing and the Saints would capitalize on the man advantage. Nick Leyer banged in the loose puck on the doorstep to give the Saints a 3-0 lead. Just 20 seconds later, Cory Babichuk would let a shot goal from the point that had eyes for his second of the night to just like that put the Saints up by 4. Tyler Browning would get a double minor for tripping with a couple minutes left in the game and Nick Leyer would get his second of the night as well on a backdoor feed from Brett Trentham. Drayton Valley had 10 shots in the 1st period but were held to just 10 shots in the final 40 minutes. The shots in the third were 17-7 for the Saints as they secure the 5-0 win here at Grant Fuhr Arena.
The Saints had shaky moments in the first period, Matthew Davis kept them in the game in the second half of the 1st as Drayton Valley had several good looks. However, they came out in the second and shut them down for the rest of the game. The Thunder couldn’t enter the offensive zone with possession and struggled against the Saints forecheck. As the third period went on you could tell they were getting frustrated as they took two undisciplined penalties late as the Saints added to their lead, improving to 10-3-0 on the season.
The Saints will have a few days off before they conclude their homestand Friday night as they welcome the Sherwood Park Crusaders.