Saints Defeat Storm 4-1 for 4th Straight Win
By: Adam Kulak
The Saints weathered the early Storm in the first and took over in the second and third. They would score a goal in all three periods and would add an empty netter late for the 4-1 victory over the Grande Prairie Storm. Klassen, Leyer, Schaefer and Cooley would score and Matt Davis would stop 29 of 30 shots as the Saints win their 4th game in a row and now 7 of 8 in the month of January.
It was interesting the way the opening 20 minutes played out in this game. Grande Prairie was the better team for the majority of the first period. They had a strong start; they were moving the puck really well and had two powerplays in the first half of the period. The Saints were struggling a bit defensively as they gave up several passes to the slot, Matt Davis was very strong early and made several quality saves.
However, the Storm started to shoot themselves in the foot late in the period by taking 4 straight penalties. That gave the Saints a chance to turn the game around and they would make them pay on their first opportunity of the night. Brayden Nicholetts would hit Ryan Peckford gaining the line with speed and he would set up Tanner Klassen on the cross crease to open the scoring in this game.
That would be the only goal they could manage in the period, but they were able to get a lot more chances than they did early. The shots were 11-4 Grande Prairie before then, but they ended 12-11 for the Saints as the first would come to an end.
The Saints carried over the late period success into the second period. They were much better defensively in the middle frame, they slowed down Grande Prairie?s attack and held them to only 5 shots compared to the Saints 15.
After a strong shift in the offensive zone, the Saints would get rewarded for it 5 minutes into the period. Seth Fyten showed off his strength and puck control as circles behind the net to set up Nick Leyer out front to give the Saints a 2-0 lead early into period number 2.
The Saints had a glorious chance to really extend the lead as Grande Prairie would get a major penalty for kneeing. That gave the Saints a powerplay for the final 5 minutes of the period. It?s not that they didn?t get good enough chances, but they didn?t get nearly enough for a 5-minute powerplay. They had great zone time, so Lars Kaliel and Grande Prairie?s penalty killers were running out of gas near the end.
But they managed to kill it off and the Saints finished the major powerplay with nothing to show for it. That was probably the only negative to take away from that period as the Saints bounced back with a strong second frame.
Grande Prairie came out with a good third period looking to get back in the game. The Saints didn?t sit back, and they kept pushing the pace, adding to their two-goal lead. 6 minutes in, a strong forecheck from Brett Trentham as he gets the puck back and puts it out front for Reid Schaefer who buries it on Lars Kaliel to give the Saints a 3-0 lead.
Matt Davis was locked in all night and kept the Saints in this game in the first period. However, there wasn?t much he could do on this next goal as Grande Prairie would find the back of the net on a powerplay. Davis made two or three initial stops, but the puck would come right to Ethan Strang on the doorstep with an open net as the Storm break the shutout bid.
Grande Prairie would get another powerplay late to try and get another, but Stanley Cooley would put home the shorthanded empty netter as the Saints solidify the 4-1 victory here at the Grant Fuhr Arena. Grande Prairie came out very strong in the first period and put the Saints back on their heels. But after a couple late powerplays, the Saints were able to get their game going and they continued to build off that in the second and third period. Special shoutout to Michael Bladon with 12 blocked shots in this game as he was getting in front of shooting lanes all night long, showing why Rob Sklaruk acquired him at the deadline.
Grande Prairie does an excellent job of moving the puck and transitioning up ice. They were gaining the zone a lot with speed and finding open teammates after getting into the zone. This resulted in the Saints giving up several Grade A chances in the first, but they tightened that up and limited those chances in the final 40 minutes. As a result, they were able to get the puck back and generate many chances of their own.
The Saints are back in action this Friday night as they welcome the Camrose Kodiaks to town for the first time this season at 7:00 PM. It will also be our special Connor Lukan and Parker Tobin Memorial game, there will be special video presentations and the Saints will be wearing Humboldt themed jerseys that you can bid on in the lounge.