By Terry Martin
The Spruce Grove Saints played game one of a three game set tonight against the Lloydminster Bobcats. The Saints entered tonight’s game 2-0 with both wins coming against the Sherwood Park Crusaders last weekend. The Bobcats were 0-2 to start opening weekend with both loses handed to them by the Bonnyville Pontiacs.
The opening frame of the game featured a beautiful tic-tac-toe play where Caiden Gault would eventually bury the puck for his 5th goal of the season. Nik Hoogendoorn would be the one to tie the game for the Bobcats just halfway through the first frame. Great chance back and forth would lead to a few odd man rushes by each team later in the period. The top line would stay hot, this time, Luigi Benincasa would be the one to score getting around all the Bobcat defenders in tight. Brett Pfoh would then score short side high from below the circles to put the Saints up 3-1 after the first period. Final shots in the period were 14-13 in favour of the Saints.
The second period started with a big diving stick save by Max Beckford to preserve the Saints lead. Breck McKinley would add to the Saints lead after jamming home the rebound in front of the net, to get his first goal of the season. Shane LaVelle would also add his first goal of the season, scoring a similar goal to McKinley just moments later. That goal would also cause a goalie change for the Bobcats as they would bring in Freddie Halyk for his first AJHL game. Caiden Gault would keep the goals coming, getting his 2nd of the night and his 6th on the year not long after the goalie change. Luigi Benincasa would get hauled down on a breakaway and score on the ensuing penalty shot, Saints led 7-1 at this point. Spruce Grove would not be done scoring, as Jacob Rochford scored in his season debut, making it a lead 8-1 on the scoreboard and 27-26 on the shot clock after the 2nd period.
The final period saw some more Saints penalties, with 6 in the game already, Spruce Grove would remain perfect on the penalty kill for the season until Mack Stewart would score on the rebound to get one back for the Bobcats. Brett Pfoh would then fake out the Bobcats goaltender in Kucherov-like fashion on a shorthanded breakaway for the team’s 9th goal of the night. The final score would end up 9-2 for the Saints, final shots were 42-34.
The Saints start the season 3-0 and will faceoff against the Bobcats twice this weekend. Friday, September 24th in Lloydminster and Saturday, September 25th at the Grant Fuhr Arena.