ROUND 1 GAME 3: Saints lead series 2-1
By: Adam Kulak
The Saints did almost everything they could except score, but they were unable to solve Luke Lush as the Drayton Valley Thunder take this one 1-0, forcing a Game 4. After missing 23 games with an injury, Cory Babichuk would make his return to the lineup for the first time since January 4th. He will replace Logan Acheson in the lineup and will be paired with Ryan Harker. With Matt Davis between the pipes, the Saints will look to finish the Thunder off here in Game 3.
Through the first 20 minutes of this game, it looked a lot like the first two games of this series. There were no goals in the opening frame, but it was an aggressive hard-hitting period with both teams going at each other. One of the areas that the Saints did well in the period was there play in the neutral zone. They did a very good job of creating turnovers or forcing Drayton Valley to dump it in. Something that they would like to improve on is getting more shots through in high danger areas. On the powerplay that they had, they had a tough time setting up shots from the slot or around the net. Shots in the period were 11-9 for the Saints as the period would end 0-0.
Despite the second period being a shooting gallery for the Saints, it would be the Thunder with the only goal of the period. 12 minutes in on an odd man rush, Ty Whitford would make no mistake beating Matt Davis over the shoulder to open the scoring. Drayton Valley started getting very undisciplined in the middle frame, Bailey Tamminga would lay a knee on knee hit on Dylan Bourlai 8 minutes in and a scrum would follow. The Saints got a 5 on 3 powerplay out of it but couldn’t get anything going on it as Lush would shut the door. They had another powerplay late in the period as Dexton Mozell would elbow Seth Fyten right in the head along the boards. They will head into the third period with 23 seconds left on the powerplay. The Saints outshot the Thunder 20-4 in the period and 31-13 after 40 minutes, but this seasons Goaltender of the Year Luke Lush would not let anything past him.
The Saints get everything they had in the 3rd period to try to tie this game. Drayton Valley did a very good job of defending the inner slot, the Saints had trouble all night getting into the middle of the ice with a scoring chance. They fired 38 shots on net but a good amount of them were not super threatening. The Saints managed to get a lot of zone time and was able to hem Drayton Valley in a lot in this game. They did almost everything they could except score, Luke Lush was fantastic in this one and he stole the show in this one.
The Saints will have another chance to close the series out tomorrow night back in Drayton Valley for Game 4, puck drop is 7:00 PM.