On day four of the AJHL playoffs, the North Division side of the bracket is now complete for the first round series with the Drayton Valley Thunder and Grande Prairie Storm biting the dust with both teams losing their series 3-1. However, in the southern part of the province, we’ll have two game five matchups to decide the winners of each series on Wednesday night and who faces either the Brooks Bandits or Okotoks Oilers.
Here’s how it all played out on Monday night:
Spruce Grove Saints 4 – 3 Drayton Valley Thunder
Saints win series 3-1
It went down to the wire in the Drayton Valley Omniplex as the Spruce Grove Saints found a way to get by the Drayton Valley Thunder in four games and move onto the second round.
The Saints and Thunder went back and forth for 60 minutes as Drayton Valley looked to tie the series up at 2-2 and force a game five.
Jordan Biro (University of Denver) got the lone goal of the first period to give the Saints an early lead. Each team got a pair of goals in the second period, Drayton’s leading scorer Jeremy Klessens tied the game up at one apiece, and Brett Bamber got his first career playoff goal. Alex Dalton and Parker Saretsky(Michigan Tech University) got goals for the Saints giving them a 3-2 lead heading into the final intermission.
Drayton Valley refused to go down without a fight, midway through the final intermission, Kabe Bleay went on a solo mission beating Matthew Davis (University of Denver) in the Spruce Grove goal to tie the game at 3-3.
Then, heartbreak for the Thunder. With 9.3 seconds left, Cory Babichuk(RPI) shot through a crowd and beat Luke Lushto give the Saints a 4-3 and see them through to the second round.
Drumheller Dragons 1 – 2 OT Canmore Eagles
Series is tied at 2-2
This series between the Dragons and Eagles has been nothing short of thrilling.
A two-goal game from Tian Rask kept the Eagles alive as they pushed for a game five in Drumheller on Wednesday night. The Dragons did get on the board once with a goal from Scout Truman(UMass-Lowell) midway through the first period.
Give full credit to the goaltenders in this game too. Daniel Allin made 41 saves in his first AJHL playoff start while at the other end Thomas Davis made 36 stops on the net. Davis has been excellent for the Eagles this entire series and has given them the opportunity to win each game.
At this point, should we pencil in overtime for game five?
Camrose Kodiaks 3 – 5 Calgary Mustangs
Series is tied at 2-2
Fans at the Father David Bauer Arena were kept on the edge of their seats for a full 60 minutes in game four of this series.
The first period saw one goal, courtesy of Cody Laskoksy of the Camrose Kodiaks. Laskosky has been excellent the entire series for Camrose, with seven points in four games.
In the second period, Calgary turned it up a notch beating Griffin Bowerman on three occasions to give themselves a 3-1 lead after 40. Chase Miller, Andres Bridgewater and Riley Bodnarchuk were the ones on the board.
However, the Kodiaks responded well with two quick goals in the third period from Dawson Schwengler (shorthanded) and Lane Brockhoff to tie the game up at three with less than 10 minutes to play. Then, Liam Freeborn secured the win for the Mustangs with his third goal in three games to force a game five.
Tyler Lentz finished off the scoring with an empty net goal.
Fort McMurray Oil Barons 5 – 1 Grande Prairie Storm
Oil Barons win series 3-1
Despite having a first period lead, thanks to Vincent Milot Ouellet (UQTR), the Grande Prairie Storm couldn’t make it to the second round of the postseason falling 3-1 in the series to the Fort McMurray Oil Barons.
Barons forward Kole Gable was electric on the night scoring a hat trick to push Fort McMurray onto the second round to take on the Sherwood Park Crusaders. Jaedon Leslie (Ohio State) scored in back-to-back games, and Brendan Stafford picked up his second of the playoffs.
Between the pipes, Chris Curr had an excellent performance making 26 saves for his third win in a row.
Their second-round series against the Crusaders gets underway on Friday night at the Sherwood Park Arena.