By Terry Martin
The Spruce Grove Saints entered tonight’s tilt winners of three in a row and looking to remain undefeated on the season. Lloydminster would look to play spoiler and get their first win of the season.
Both teams played defensively sound through the first half of the opening period, only getting shots from the outside of the faceoff dots. Tanner Fincaryk would be the one to score on a Lloydminster power play with 7 minutes left in the period to break the tie. The Saints would hammer the puck towards the net for the rest of the period but would not score. The heat would also turn up at the end of the period after back-to-back scrums on both sides of the ice. Spruce Grove would lead in shots 12-10, but trail 1-0 after 20 minutes of play.
The Saints came into the middle frame looking to capitalize on their chances and comeback on the scoreboard. Luigi Benincasa would be the one to tie the game, throwing the puck on net from the corner shorthanded. Zafir Rawji would restore the lead for the Bobcats after a favourable bounce off the boards. Braeden Virtue would then score his first goal as a Saint to tie the game. Then just a few seconds later Acheson would score his first of the season all alone in front of the net. Ethan Kronewitt would get his first career AJHL point on the Acheson goal. Brett Pfoh would get another goal just a few seconds later as well. Brophy Dunne would then fire the puck home from the point to put the Saints up 5-2. The Saints led 5-2 after 40 minutes.
The final period of the game saw the Bobcats strike early as Zafir Rawji scored his second of the night for the Bobcats. Ben Bygrove would score from the point to cut the lead to just 1 with 7 minutes left in the game. Tegan Skehar would score just two minutes later from the top of the circles to tie the game 5-5. Both teams would hold off each other and the Saints would head to overtime for the first time this season. Both goalies would make their best saves of the night in the overtime period to push the game to the shootout. Ethan Aucoin would be the only shooter to score in the shootout to give the Bobcats a 6-5 win. Final shots in the game would favour the Saints 42-30.
Spruce Grove will play the rubber match against the Bobcats tomorrow night from the Grant Fuhr Arena at 7:00pm. Tickets can be purchased online (tickets.sprucegrovesaints.ca) or at the door.
The Grant Fuhr Arena is operating under the Restrictions Exemption Program (REP). For more details click here -> https://www.sprucegrovesaints.ca/media-centre/news-archives.html?rYear=2021&nID=19018