Saints Ground Eagles 4-3
By: Adam Kulak
The Saints come into Canmore less than 24 hours after beating Calgary and pick up another big win on the road. They jump out to a two-goal lead in the third and hold on for the 4-3 win in the Rocky Mountains over the Canmore Eagles. Basnett, Gamache, Biro and Cooley would score for the Saints and Matt Davis would pick up his 14th victory on the season.
It didn?t take long for the Eagles to jump out to a 1-0 lead as Cameron Sterling would beat Matt Davis from the hashmarks to open the scoring just under 2 minutes in. It wasn?t a great start to the period for the Saints, they weren?t exiting their zone very cleanly and they allowed several good chances from the slot.
The Eagles started fast and put pressure on early, controlling the first couple shifts of the game. The Saints would start to play better later in the period, they would find the equalizer at the 12-minute mark on the powerplay. Ryan Conroy would feed Jordan Biro at the right circle and he would put a shot on net with Cole Basnett getting a stick on it. That would be Basnett?s 7th on the season as he has been money on the powerplay over the last few games.
It would only remain tied for 2 minutes as Canmore quickly responded as Michael Spafford would get a stick on an Eagle shot to give Canmore back the lead. The Saints special teams were good in the opening period, but they will want to look to improve at even strength in the final 40 minutes.
The Saints lead the shots 11-10 but they will trail Canmore 2-1 going into the middle period.
There were plenty of rush chances back and forth in the second period. It was a fast-paced period as both teams were looking to create offense and extend the score. As the period went on, the Saints started to turn up the pressure and they had Canmore stuck in their zone for a lot of shifts in the second period.
At the 12-minute mark, the Saints would tie the game up again as Grahame Gamache would go post and in from the hashmarks off a drop pass from Breck McKinley. That would be goal #6 on the season for Gamache as the Saints tie the game up yet again.
A lot more penalty minutes compared to the first period; things started getting a little chippy as there were 12 minutes in roughing penalties. The Saints made the Eagles pay on the powerplay in the first but couldn?t take advantage in the second. They will head into the third period with 1:30 of powerplay time from Canmore?s late penalty.
The Saints outshot Canmore 15-5 in the second and 26-15 overall as both team?s head into the final frame deadlocked at 2.
The Saints really shut Canmore down in the last two periods of this game. Canmore put up 10 shots in first, but the Saints limited them to 9 in the final 40 minutes on route to this win. The Saints were able to capitalize on their powerplay a minute into the period as Jordan Biro would jump on the rebound out front to give the Saints their first lead of the game.
Stanley Cooley would extend the lead just a couple minutes later as he would beat Kadin Kilpatrick from the right corner as the Saints jump out to a two-goal lead just 4 minutes into the period. The Eagles would pull back to within one as Tian Rask would score just 2 minutes later, making this a 4-3 game with 14 minutes remaining in the game.
That would be as close as they would get, the Eagles tried to make a push, but they couldn?t find the equalizer as the Saints hold on for the 4-3 victory. Both the Saints and Eagles pushed the play at certain points in the game, but it was the Saints who would control most of the game.
It wasn?t one of the Saints best games of the year, but it was good enough to beat the Canmore Eagles on the road. While it has been very inconsistent this season, the Saints powerplay was clicking tonight and they also went 4/4 on the penalty kill. You need your special teams in a close game like this and they came through tonight.
The Saints will wrap up their long road trip tomorrow afternoon. They will head down to Olds for an afternoon matchup with the Grizzlys to finish off this weekend Southern swing.