ROUND 2 GAME 1: Saints lead series 1-0.
By: Adam Kulak
The Saints marched into Bonnyville and immediately took away home ice advantage with a convincing 5-2 win in Game 1 of the North Division Semi Final. Cam Mitchell would return to the lineup in this game after being injured on February 22nd against Drayton Valley, he will start the game centering Alex Dalton and Seth Fyten. With Matt Davis between the pipes, the Saints would look to draw first blood in the series.
It was a close opening period, both teams had multiple scoring chances and both goaltenders were sharp in the period. A lot of penalties for both teams as well as half the period was spent on powerplays. The Saints had three opportunities on the powerplay, their first powerplay I thought they had good zone time and puck movement. They were getting pucks to the slot areas but Bonnyville was doing a good job of tying players sticks up making it difficult for the Saints to get shots off. Bonnyville would capitalize on their third powerplay opportunity as Lucas Thorne would beat Davis from the slot to give the Pontiacs a 1-0 lead. The Saints outshot the Pontiacs 11-9 but couldn’t find the back of the net in the opening 20 minutes.
Bonnyville came out fast and took control for the first few minutes of the period. They had the Saints hemmed in for a few minutes as they had chance after chance from high danger range. That’s all the big chances the Pontiacs had in the period, Davis and the Saints weathered the early storm and they really started to take over the game. 13 minutes in on a 5 on 3, Logan Ganie would feed TJ Lloyd up top who then sent it down low to Parker Saretsky for the one-time blast to tie the game up at 1. 3 minutes later, Alex Dalton would throw it on net coming down the left wing and Stanley Cooley would get the rebound to give the Saints there first lead of the night. 2 minutes after that, Seth Fyten would bang in another rebound out front to give the Saints three goals in 5 minutes to open up for a 3-1 lead. The Saints outshot the Pontiacs 21-6 in the period. They did a very good job of playing with pace and engaging Pontiac players with support. The Saints will take a 3-1 lead into the final 20 minutes.
42 seconds into the 3rd period, Logan Ganie’s shot would be redirected five hole by Cam Mitchell as he scores in his return to the lineup. Trailing by 2, Bonnyville pushed back to start the 3rd period as they didn’t go down without a fight. Jeremy Gervais would let a shot go from the point 3 minutes in for Bonnyville’s second goal of the game, but the Saints just kept pressing the hole game. They were exiting their zone very well, making crisp passes, opening space to get out of the zone. They also forced a lot of turnovers in the offensive zone with their forecheck. Halfway through the period, Harden would create a turnover behind the Pontiacs net and put it right out front for Jordan Biro for the insurance marker as the Saints would close out the 5-2 win here at the RJ Lalonde Arena.
The Saints are back here tomorrow night for Game 2 looking to take a 2-0 lead in the series, puck drop at 7:30 PM. You can catch all the action on the Saints Radio Network starting at 7:15pm!