ROUND 4 GAME 1: Bandits lead series 1-0.
By: Adam Kulak
It was a back and forth game, the Saints got better as the game went on, but they couldn’t quite complete the comeback as they fall 3-2 in Game 1 to the Brooks Bandits. After a slow first period offensively, the Saints come out in the final 40 minutes and would create a lot of quality opportunities, but they didn’t capitalize on the prime opportunities that they had in the game, which ended up costing them in this game tonight.
The first 20 minutes of this game was a bit of a feeling out period for both teams. The Saints struggled a bit to make plays in this period and had a hard time transitioning to offense. The Bandits would strike first in this series 3 minutes in as Simon Gravel would redirect a pass out front from William Lemay to make it 1-0.
The Bandits in the first period did a lot of what the Saints have done so well throughout the playoffs, their forecheck and neutral zone play was very strong. The Saints were trying to stretch the ice out in the neutral zone going for long plays, but the Bandits did a great job reading them and disrupting the Saints transition.
The Saints had the only powerplay opportunity in the period, but they were unable to get anything going on it, keeping the score 1-0. Shots were 9-7 Brooks as the period would end with the Bandits up by 1.
The Saints were able to create more opportunities offensively in the second period. They established more zone time and were able to generate more quality chances than they did in the first. At the 8-minute mark, a bounce would spring Ryan Peckford and Logan Ganie on a 2 on 1. Peckford would feed it over to Ganie who would slide it right back to Peckford who ties the game up 1-1 near the halfway mark of the period.
The Saints had several solid shifts where they sustained pressure and had a number of good looks. They had a powerplay opportunity a minute later as Simon Boyko would go off for high sticking. This powerplay looked a lot better than their first one, they had very good puck movement and sustained zone time which they didn’t have at all in the first period.
They appeared to start building momentum but 5 minutes later, Brooks would make them pay on their own powerplay. Ryan Mahshie would beat Matt Davis from the slot with a screen in front and the Bandits would grab the lead right back. Shots were 18-12 after 40 minutes as the score stays 2-1.
Things didn’t start the way the Saints wanted in the third, as Simon Gravel would get his second of the game 50 seconds into the period. William Lemay on a 2 on 1 would feed Gravel backdoor who would make no mistake as the Bandits get the insurance marker.
Trailing heading into the third, the Saints put on a lot of pressure trying to tie this game up. A lot of penalties in this period as there were 37 minutes in penalties. At the 12-minute mark, Logan Ganie would bring the Saints to within one, as he would beat Pierce Charleson post and in to make it 3-2.
The Saints would get a golden opportunity late in the third period. Ray Christy would lay a bad hit to the head on Ethan Edwards and the Saints would get a 5-minute powerplay with 4 minutes left in the game.
They would take a minor at the start of it to make things 4v4 for 2 minutes, they tried to get things going but the Bandits did a great job of clearing the zone and just killing the clock. That would be all the Saints could manage as the Bandits hang on to win 3-2 and take a 1-0 lead in the series.
The Saints are right back at it tomorrow night, looking to get the series split on the road in Game 2.
You can listen to the Saints on http://mixlr.com/sprucegrovesaints/, pre game at 6:45 and puck drop at 7:00 PM.