By Terry Martin
The Saints headed down to Brooks for game 5 as they looked to extend the series and play game 6 on Tuesday. The Bandits lead the series 3 games to 1 and they had the opportunity to win the championship on home ice.
Both teams would play more defensively in the opening half of the period as only 4 shots were registered on net, 3 on Martin and 1 on Barwick. They would also trade power play opportunities but neither team could sustain any pressure in the offensive zone. The Saints and Bandits would remain tied 0-0 after 20 minutes of play and Spruce Grove would just trail in shots 3-5.
The 2nd period would mirror much of the opening frame as each team would not get that many chances on net. It would take 35 minutes but the Bandits would eventually open the scoring. TJ Hughes would be the one to pick up his own rebound in the crease and then put the puck in the net with 5 minutes remaining in the middle frame. The Saints would push back but they would still find themselves down 1-0 after 2 periods of play. The Bandits would again lead in shots 15-10 heading into the final period.
The teams would again play more conservatively throughout the 3rd period, but Tristan Martin would be the one to make the biggest save of the game as he would stop a 2 on 1 opportunity earlier in the frame. Yet, the Bandits would again score with 5 minutes left in the period; this time Brendan Mairs would find the puck to make it a 2-0 game. The Saints would continue to push to the very end but just come up short after a terrific season. Spruce Grove would generate some great opportunities in the final minutes but would just be edged out in shots, 21-25 after 60 minutes of play.
The team accomplished many things and had some unbelievable highlights throughout the season and we can’t wait to see what the Saints can bring next year.