Saints take first of back to back with 4-1 Victory over Oil Barons.
By: Adam Kulak
After almost a week off, the Saints picked up where they left off in Camrose with a 4-1 win over the Fort McMurray Oil Barons. Nick Leyer had two goals, Cameron Chin and Jordan Biro added one each and Matt Davis was terrific in net as the Saints take the first of back to back games here at the Casman Centre in Fort McMurray. After coming over from Lethbridge in the WHL, Adam Hall would make his Saints debut in this game, starting on a line with Cam Mitchell and Nick Leyer. With the Saints look to put another string of wins together, let’s get to puck drop.
The Saints came out fast in the opening period and put the pressure on early. The first shift of the game they hemmed Fort McMurray in their zone with a strong forecheck, trying to set the tone for the game. They had a Powerplay opportunity 5 minutes in but were unable to capitalize and open the scoring.
The Oil Barons would settle into the game and just over 8 minutes in, it was the Barons who would strike first. Jonathan Assayag would get the puck right in the slot and would beat Matt Davis to open the scoring in the game.
The Saints went right back to the attack, throwing a lot of pucks at and around the net trying to get rebounds and secondary chances. It would be a few minutes after the Oil Barons goal that the Saints would find the equalizer. Fort McMurray couldn’t handle the puck at their blueline, and Ryan Peckford would come in on a 2 on 1, feeding it over to Nick Leyer on the one timer to tie things up.
They wouldn’t be done there, with just a few minutes to go in the period, Cameron Chin would let a shot go from the point and Jordan Biro with the hand eye, redirects it past Chris Curr to give the Saints the lead.
The Saints have given up the first goal a few times already this season, but they bounced back to regain the lead. It was a fairly even period, but the Saints would find themselves leading after 20 minutes of play.
The Saints started to slip a little bit as the Oil Barons controlled the majority of the second period, putting them back on their heels. The Saints really started to get undisciplined in the period, taking a couple needless penalties and giving the Oil Barons 4 straight Powerplay chances.
Matt Davis and the Saints penalty killers were really put to the test in this period, but they were able to persevere, going 4/4 in the period. The Oil Barons put the pressure on in the middle frame, outshooting the Saints 11-3 in the period. There were a lot of chances for Fort McMurray to really swing the game in their favor, but the Saints managed to hold them off and get out of the period with a 2-1 lead still intact.
The Saints would finally get a powerplay of their own with 30 second to go in the period as Ryan Peckford would get hooked on a breakaway. They will get almost a minute and a half of Powerplay time as they start the third period, looking to break through and add to their lead with 20 minutes to play.
After a struggling second period, the Saints came out of intermission and changed the tide of the game. It looked like the Oil Barons were going to come back and take control, but the Saints responded with a much better period in the third.
They were more disciplined in the third and they limited Fort McMurray’s opportunities to tie the game, outshooting them 17-3 over the final 20 minutes. It remained a one goal contest up until the final few minutes of the period.
With 3 minutes left in the game, Cameron Chin picked up the puck right in the slot and he would beat Chris Curr as the Saints finally find the insurance marker they were looking for. Nick Leyer would get his second of the night with the empty netter, sealing the 4-1 victory for the Saints and moving them to 8-1-0 on the season.
Just like last Monday in Grande Prairie, the Saints have a good start to the game, survive a second period storm, then finish with a strong third to close the game out. They can’t give teams 4 straight Powerplays consistently because more often than not, that’s not going to end well. Other than that, the Saints did a lot of good things in this game and they will look to polish and improve on things right back here tomorrow night.
They will get ready for another clash with the Oil Barons tomorrow night, puck drop is at 7:30pm, you can listen live on the Saints radio network at http://mixlr.com/sprucegrovesaints.
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