What better way to spend family day in Canada than at a hockey game.
Fortunately for Saints fans, Spruce Grove was able to narrowly escape the Lloydminster Bobcats in a 4-3 overtime win on Feb. 18.
With the win against Olds at home on Feb. 16, the Saints have now won five in a row and moved up to the #16 spot in the CJHL rankings.
Head coach Jason Mckee felt his team got off to a rough start against the Grizzlies, having come off of a road trip to Bonnyville.
“Both teams played the night before and traveled, so it was a little sluggish. Both teams were feeling each other out,” Mckee says.
The Saints were able to turn the game around against the rarely-seen opponent to pull out a 4-2 win.
“We don’t see [Olds] a lot. We played them in the first game of the year, so we hadn’t seen them in a few months, “ “I think it was a situation where we did what we needed to to win. We didn’t overanalyze that one too much.”
The Family Day win against Lloyd didn’t start well either.
“I didn’t think we played up to our capabilities until the third. I thought we started to push the pace a little bit better in the third with some better quality scoring opportunities,” says Mckee.
After back-and-forth goals the Saints trailed by one until Tim Nolte knocked in the tying goal to send the game to OT.
“We finally got one by them. I thought their goalie played well, made some key saves,” Mckee says.
Dylan Hollman scored the game winner on the assist by Dylan Richard to bring the Saints record to 33-15-9 at the top of the North division.
While the game marks another shaky start, Mckee isn’t just focusing on the negative.
“It’s nice to get back in the win column for sure,” Mckee says.
After pulling out of a seven-game losing streak, the Saints are working as a unit again according to Mckee.
“I think for a period of time we didn’t have 20 guys on the same page, working at the same level. I think in the last five games we’ve had a much more committed effort.”
The Saints take on Sherwood Park at the Agrena on Feb. 22.
“We’ll enjoy this one tonight, “ Mckee says.
“Sherwood Park is obviously a different story we’ve seen them a number of times this year, and the last couple years, so we’ll go through some video and preparation that way, and most importantly make sure our game is where it needs to be.”
Looking ahead to the playoffs every win is going to be crucial, something Mckee knows all too well.
“It’s coming down to crunch time, with the division being so tight it’s going to be a huge game.”