Saints Tame Grizzlys 4-2 to Close out Season
By: Adam Kulak
In the last game of the season, the Saints would add one more victory to the win column with a 4-2 decision over the Olds Grizzlys. Reid Schaefer and Graham Gamache would find the back of the net, Brayden Nicholetts would add two in the third and Maxence Duchesne would get his 12th win on the season. With Ty Marcinkowski in net at the other end, the Saints will look for one final tune up before the post season.
There?s not too much to complain about through one period of this game. The Saints had the puck on their stick for most of the period, they were creating turnovers, putting on pressure and taking away the Grizzlys? time and space. In the second half of the period they started getting a little sloppy with the puck, but their defense was still strong.
They managed to open the scoring late in the period, as Reid Schaefer would snipe one off the rush. Schaefer would find the back of the net in his return to the lineup and the Saints have a 1-0 lead. The Grizzlys started getting into penalty trouble after, giving the Saints several opportunities to extend the lead.
They had good extended zone time and they came close a few times, but they were unable to add to their lead before the end of the period. Max Duchesne wasn?t too busy in the period; the shots were 17-3 for the Saints as they head into the second period with the lead.
Things didn?t go nearly as well as the Saints probably wanted in the middle frame. They did outshoot the Grizzlys 21-7 in the period but that wasn?t quite as indicative of the performance. They puck management continued to struggle as they were missing passes and they gave Olds good opportunities off turnovers.
It doesn?t always matter what the shots are, if you give a team a great scoring chance, they can score on you and that is what happened early in the second. Zafir Rawji off the rush, fed Daine Milgate and he beat Max Duchesne on the backhand as the Grizzlys get this game knotted up just under 2 minutes in.
The Saints still had plenty of offensive chances, there were several instances where the puck would be right on the line and Ty Marcinkowski would find a way to keep out. However, they were playing looser then they were to start the game, Olds didn?t have many shots, but they were all quality ones.
It was a tough period, but the Saints will look to bounce back and take this game in the third period, shots were 39-10 after 40 minutes.
3 minutes into the third, things would get worse for the Saints as the Grizzlys would score another goal early in the period. Off another odd man rush, Kaiden Kanderka would roof it on Duchesne as the Grizzlys take their first lead of the night. However, the Saints would bounce back with a better period then the second and answered shortly after.
Trailing for the first time in this game, the Saints were able to snap out of it and get their game back. 2 minutes later, Graham Gamache would bang in the loose puck on the doorstep as the Saints get this game tied back up. After that they put a ton of pressure on Olds for the rest of the period trying to find the go-ahead goal. Despite some shaky play through parts of this game, the Saints still managed to put up a season high 62 shots on Ty Marcinkowski, including 24 of them in the final frame.
All those shots and chances would eventually turn into the game winning goal with 4 minutes left, courtesy of Brayden Nicholetts. He would find the loose puck out front and beat Marcinkowski on the backhand as the Saints grab the lead late. Nicholetts would also add the empty netter to seal the deal as the Saints win 4-2 in their final game of the season.
The Saints will kick of the playoffs this Sunday night as they will welcome Grande Prairie to town for Game 1 of the North Division Quarter Final, puck drop is 7:00 PM.