ROUND 3 GAME 3: Crusaders lead series 2-1.
By: Adam Kulak
Down 2-0 in the series, the Saints come out with their best game of the playoffs to date and defeat the Cru 5-3 here in Game 3. Big news on the lineup front for the Saints as Brett Trentham would return to play his first game for the Saints since November 28th. He and Bruce MacGregor up front will come into the lineup for Matthew Rempe and Alex Dalton. Ethan Edwards will also make his playoff debut for the Saints as he comes in on the blueline for Evan Wood. Let’s get to the first period as the Saints look to cut the Crusaders series lead in half.
I didn’t think we could see a more dominant period than Games 3 and 4 vs Bonnyville but apparently, I was wrong. In a crucial Game 3 being down 2-0 in the series, the Saints came out like there lives depended on it. They raced out to a 3-0 lead before the Crusaders even got their first shot of the game. 2 minutes in, the Saints relentless pressure pays off as Dylan Bourlai is there to jam the puck in on the doorstep to open the scoring here in Game 3. A few minutes later, the Saints would draw an interference minor off their forecheck. Cory Babichuk at the top of the zone would dish it over to Ryan Peckford who absolutely snipes top corner on Matt Berlin making it 2-0 on the powerplay. If you though the Saints were done there, you would be mistaken. Just minutes after that, Dylan Bourlai would get his second of the period, he would break in on a 1 on 1 and rip one bar down as everything the Saints touched seemed to turn gold in this period. That would be all the scoring in the period, shots were 26-5 Saints as they head into the second period in complete control of this game.
A lot of the second period was played on special teams as there were 8 minor penalties. 8 minutes in on the powerplay, Ryan Peckford would find Jordan Biro out front for the Saints second powerplay goal of them to extend the Saints lead to 4-0. The Crusaders started to get a little traction in the second half of the period and that’s where a lot of their better chances came. Halfway through the period, the Cru would get on the board off a powerplay goal from Michael Benning. Matt Davis would rob Arjun Atwal just seconds before with the save of the playoffs so far, but he couldn’t quite get them all as the Cru would break the shutout bid. The Saints would continue to play a strong game and would close out the period with a 4-1 lead, shots were 15-6 in the period and 41-11 overall going into the third period.
I can’t fit the third period penalty list on my computer because it’s too long to fit on the page. It wouldn’t be the Suburb Series without hatred between these two Highway 16 rivals. Emotions started to boil over as it was quite a long final frame due to all the minors and 10-minute misconducts. 8 minutes into the period, Parker Saretsky would get the 3rd powerplay goal of the game for the Saints as they extend their lead to 5-1. Saretsky would then make it 6-1 on a beautiful tic tac toe play but the goal wouldn’t count due to a delayed penalty. The Cru would get two goals late, but it wouldn’t matter as the Saints finish the game off by a final score of 5-3 here at the Grant Fuhr Arena. Once the Saints get their forecheck and cycle going it is a nightmare for the other team. Teams can’t get out of there zone because there is always a Saints player right on top of them to strip them of the puck and they just buried the Crusaders in this game. The final shots of the game were 53-20 Saints as they are now back in this series.
They will look to tie the series up tomorrow night in Game 4, puck drop at 7:00 PM.