Saints Unravel in Second Period and Fall 5-2 to Drayton Valley
By: Adam Kulak
After a 6-2 loss to Sherwood Park last Friday, the Saints weren?t able to come up with a better result tonight in Drayton Valley. Brayden Nicholetts and Stanley Cooley would score for the Saints, but they would give up three goals in the second period and just couldn?t overcome it. They came out with a big third period effort to try and get back into it but they end up falling 5-2 to the Drayton Valley Thunder.
The first couple of minutes weren?t exactly fantastic as the Saints came out a bit slow to start the game. Drayton Valley would open the scoring just over a minute into the period as Jeremy Klessens would fire a slap shot from the high slot. The Saints would then give them a powerplay opportunity shortly after as Drayton Valley had most of the zone time through the first 4 or 5 minutes of the game.
As the period went on, the Saints started to turn things around and started to take control of the game. They had multiple shifts where they had great pressure on Drayton Valley, they were aggressive in the neutral zone, forcing turnovers and they tried to start getting their forecheck going.
Reid Schaefer would do a great job drawing a roughing penalty on Jesse Pomeroy and the Saints would convert on the man advantage. After a big scramble on front of the net, the Saints would get two or three chances before Brayden Nicholetts put it home on the rebound just before the net came off to tie the game at 1.
That would make the Saints 1/1 on the powerplay so far as they started to put the pressure on after a rocky start. Shots in the period were 11-7 for the Saints as the period would end in a 1-1 tie.
The second period started off fine for the Saints, they would unfortunately get a double minor for high sticking, but the penalty killers did an excellent job killing it off. The Saints penalty killers were very good at getting their sticks in lanes, the Thunder tried a few cross-ice passes but almost all of them were broken up by a Saints stick.
After they killed the penalty off, things then began to unravel a bit for the Saints. Shortly after the powerplay, Drayton Valley would score two quick goals in less than a minute to take over the game. Dexton Mozell off a broken play would beat Matt Davis on a breakaway to get things started in the middle frame.
Right after, the Saints would blow a tire in the neutral zone and Jeremy Klessens and Dylan Price would come in on a 2 on 1. Klessens would slide it over to Price as he converts the odd man rush as Drayton Valley would take a 3-1 lead halfway through the second frame. The Saints tried to get things back on track with a couple good shifts. Stanley Cooley would get the Saints back to within one off a one timer from the slot and the Saints had a strong shift with good chances after that.
That would be as close as they would get in the period however, as Kadyn Chabot would answer back on another 2 on 1 to make it a 4-2 game. The Saints started to hang Matt Davis out to dry a little bit in the second period, all of Drayton Valley?s goals came on a breakaway and two odd man rushes.
Shots in the period were 10-10, the Saints created several chances in the period, but they gave up too much and it ended up burning them. They will have to find a way to tighten up and turn this game around as we head into the third period.
Facing a two-goal deficit, the Saints came out and put on a full court press in the final 20 minutes. They essentially lived in Drayton Valley?s zone for most of the period as they were all over the puck and tried to get as much as they could to the net.
Drayton Valley tried to keep as much to the outside as possible as the Saints couldn?t quite manage to get enough dangerous shots from high percentage areas of the zone. Eric Ward also played a very good game for the Thunder in net as he made several key saves throughout this game. Henry Wagner would add an empty netter with 2 minutes to go as the Saints fall to Drayton Valley 5-2 here on the road.
The second period lapses that the Saints had definitely cost them in this game. They played good for a lot of the first and they were very good in the third, but when you give up that many A+ chances in the middle frame and dig a hole for yourself, that doesn?t make things easy on yourselves. Drayton Valley was opportunistic all night and converted on their chances when they came up.
The Saints will have a weekend home and home with the Whitecourt Wolverines before the Christmas break. That begins Friday night as the Saints host the Wolverines back home at the Grant Fuhr Arena, puck drop is 7:00PM.