Saints shelter Storm 3-1 to remain perfect.
By: Adam Kulak
The Saints continued their hot streak tonight here at the Revolution Arena. They open the scoring early in the first and third, and they close out the Grande Prairie Storm 3-1 for their 6th straight victory. Both teams were coming in hot in this game, Grande Prairie are 4-1-0 to start the season and have won 4 in a row after dropping their season opener. The Saints are 5-0-0 and looking to remain perfect on the season. With Lars Kaliel in net for the Storm and Matt Davis between the pipes for the Saints, let?s head to the opening faceoff.
After a slow start against Whitecourt, the Saints had a better start tonight and would get the first goal of the game. Ryan Peckford and Sam Popowich would burst down on a 2 on 1 and Peckford would slide it through Lars Kaliel for his 3rd in 2 games, giving the Saints a 1-0 lead.
It was a closely played period, both teams created good opportunities in the period whether 5v5 or on the Powerplay. Grande Prairie had three opportunities on the Powerplay in the period, they had a couple good looks, but the Saints did a good job getting sticks in lanes and limiting their possession time.
The Saints outshot the Storm 13-8 in the period and would hold the 1-0 lead heading into the second period.
The Storm really turned up the pressure in the second. The Saints were back on their heels for much of the period as it was all Grande Prairie in the middle frame.
The Saints had a tough time getting anything going, they weren?t able to transition from defense to offense consistently and they didn?t establish a lot of offensive zone time. Grande Prairie controlled the pace of play, creating a lot of chances off the rush and in transition.
Each team only had one Powerplay chance in the period. The Saints looked good on the Powerplay, but the Storm penalty killers did a great job of getting in every shooting lane and not letting the Saints get pucks on and around the net.
Grande Prairie fired 16 shots in that period compared to the Saints 6, but Matt Davis stopped everything coming his way. He was fantastic in the period, keeping the Saints in it and preserving the 1-0 lead heading into the final 20 minutes.
The Saints bounced back and started to outplay Grande Prairie in the third period. Their forecheck was really strong, causing a lot of turnovers as well as created several scoring chances early in the final frame.
The Saints would make it 2-0 just 3 minutes into the period. Nick Leyer off a strong forecheck would get it out to Loeden Schaufler at the top of the circle and he would beat Lars Kaliel for his first goal in a Saints uniform.
Grande Prairie after putting up 16 shots in the second, were held without a shot for the first half of the third. However, they would pull within one with 6 minutes to go in the game. Nathaniel Bierd on the Powerplay, would fire a shot from the hashmarks and Ethan Strang would get a stick on it as the Storm break the shutout and cut the lead in half.
With just over a minute to play, Cole Basnett and Ryan Maclean would drop the gloves after the whistle. Maclean and the Storm would pick up the instigator, giving the Saints a Powerplay chance to put the game away.
With the net empty, Brett Trentham would seal the 3-1 victory as the Saints improve to 6-0-0 on the regular season.
The Saints got off to a strong start with Peckford?s early goal and they continued to play a solid road game. They survived a second period surge from Grande Prairie and bounced back in the third to take back control of the game.
Matt Davis was terrific tonight, stopping 28 of 29 for his 5th win of the season. This game could have ended differently if he wasn?t as good as he was in the middle frame and he earns tonight?s player of the game honors.
The Saints will now prepare for two AJHL Showcase games coming up. They are in Camrose Thursday night to take on the Brooks Bandits and Saturday afternoon to battle the Calgary Canucks.