Jovanovic, Benincasa Lead Saints To 2-1 Win Over Oilers

By Terry Martin

The Saints and Oilers took each other on for the third and final time to determine who would take the regular season series. Okotoks took the first game by a final score of 3-2 during the AJHL showcase at the end of September. Spruce Grove then took the next meeting 8-3 in November at the Grant Fuhr Arena. The Oilers sit 4th in the South Division with 25 wins, 52 points and they are on a 2-game loosing streak. With 8 points or a couple Oil Barons losses, the Saints will also be able to clinch 1st place in the North and the 1st round bye in playoffs.

Spruce Grove would come out to a terrific start, not allowing the Oilers a shot on goal for the first ten minutes. Nikola Jovanovic would open the scoring on an early power play, going bar down from the slot. Brett Huxley then scores for the Oilers with 4:21 left in the 1st. The Saints and Oilers would end the period tied, but Spruce Grove would lead 10-6 in the shot department.

Neither team would score through this period as the Saints would dominate the majority of the frame. The Oilers would come back and get some chances of the their own, nearly taking the lead three times within the last 2 minutes of the 2nd period. The Saints and Oilers would still be tied 1-1 after 2 periods of play and Spruce Grove would also still lead 20-14 in shots.

Luigi Benincasa would break the ice early on in the third period, sliding the puck five hole to put the Saints up 2-1. The Saints would then have to hold off the Oilers push back as they looked to tie the game back up before the end of the period. The Saints will eventually extend their win streak to 3 games, winning 2-1 and doubling up the Oilers in shots 28-16 after 60 minutes.

The Saints now begin a 5-game home stand that begins on Wednesday as they take on the Bonnyville Pontiacs for the final time in the regular season. Spruce Grove will look to take that season series as they have won 3 and lost 2.