ROUND 3 GAME 5: Saints lead series 3-2.
By: Adam Kulak
The Saints picked up right where they left off in Games 3 and 4 as they explode for 5 goals here in Sherwood Park. Nick Leyer had two goals, Basnett, Fyten and Ganie would get the others as the Saints are now one win away from heading back to the AJHL Finals. If it isn’t broke, don’t fix it, the Saints would go with the same lineup again as Games 3 and 4 here tonight. With Matt Davis in net, the Saints would look to take their first lead of the series as we go to the opening period.
The first period of this game had similarities to Game 4, the Cru came out with a strong first few minutes, but the Saints weathered it and settled in as the period went on. Both teams with a couple missed plays in transition but the Saints’ puck pursuit was very good. They were hard on pucks tracking back and in the offensive zone. The Saints would open the scoring for the 4th time in the 5 games so far. On the doorstep, Nick Leyer would bury the loose puck off a rebound as the Saints capitalize on their first and only opportunity on the powerplay in this period. Nick Leyer has been a bit snake bitten so far in these playoffs, he’s had a lot of opportunities throughout this playoff run so to see him get a big goal like that is a great boost for the Saints. That would be all the scoring in the period, shots were 10-10 as the first 20 minutes would end with the Saints up 1.
The Saints came out with a strong second period as they had most of the chances. Cole Basnett would give the Saints a 2-0 lead 3 minutes in off a shot from the slot. The Saints would give the Cru two opportunities on the powerplay in the middle frame, but the penalty killers did an excellent job. They had great sticks picking off passes and getting shorthanded chances the other way. It was the same story at 5v5, the Saints created a lot of chances off the rush off Crusader turnovers, its just a matter of finishing on the opportunities and always getting shots off. The shots in the period were 15-6 Saints but they could have had more but some of their opportunities they wouldn’t get a shot off or they try to pass, and it gets blocked. The Saints need to continue to play the way they have and if they don’t give the Cru more chances on the powerplay, they are in good shape going into the third.
The Saints continued their strong play in the third period and that’s when the flood gates started to open. 3 minutes in on a powerplay, Logan Ganie with a slick move to set up Seth Fyten back door to give the Saints a 3-0 lead. Halfway through the period, Nick Leyer would get his second of the night, making it 4-0. With 3 minutes left, Nick Leyer would then set up Logan Ganie back door to make it 5-0 as the Saints would pour it on in the final 20 minutes. The Cru would break the shutout with 30 seconds left off a breakaway from Brandon Wallis. But the Saints would finish them off 5-1 in Game 5 and now take a 3-2 series lead. The Saints were great in this game and the Cru did not have a single answer for them all game long. The Saints dominated possession and made the Cru look like they were in quick sand for good stretches in this game, that was ultimately the difference tonight.
The Saints will now look to close this series out on home ice, Sunday night at the Grant Fuhr Arena, puck drop at 7:00 PM.