It was a good day to be a road team on day three of the AJHL Inter Pipeline Playoffs with five out of six travelling teams picked up the win in game three. We also had two teams eliminated from the postseason putting us down to 12 teams left overall.
Here’s how it all shaped up:
Okotoks Oilers 6 – 0 Calgary Canucks
Oilers win the series 3-0
That’s it that’s all between the Okotoks Oilers and Calgary Canucks.
The Canucks battled hard for three straight games versus the Oilers, but in the end, the firepower of Okotoks proved to be just too much for Calgary to handle.
Okotoks got goals from six different players, Seth Bernard-Docker, Tanner Sawka, Gibb Coady, Blake Wells (UMass-Lowell), Marc Pasemko, and Louis Jamernick, as they moved onto the second round for the fifth straight season.
Drumheller Dragons 5 – 4 OT Canmore Eagles
Dragons lead series 2-1
We had another huge comeback in the South Division with the Canmore Eagles trailing to the Drumheller Dragons 4-0 with 21 minutes to play until they managed to erase that four-goal deficit to tie the game up nine minutes into the third period.
Special teams played a big part in the Dragons success to start out the game. Troy Dudley and Markus Boguslavsky each had a powerplay goal in the first period giving the Dragons a two-goal lead heading into the intermission. Then in the third Roc Truman (UMass-Lowell) got on the board with his third of the postseason which was quickly followed by a shorthanded goal from Hassan Aki.
With 30 seconds to play in the second, the Eagles come from behind attempt began when captain Colton Young (Colgate Univerisity) pulled his team within three before the break. The third was when the Eagles really came alive. Tian Rask got Canmore’s second before they scored two goals in 14 seconds from, Most Outstanding Defenceman Finalist, Mark Drohan and Taden Rattie. Rattie’s goal was highlight reel worthy as the big winger danced around one Dragons defenceman and went backhand on Hunter Virostek (Albertus Magnus College) to tie the game up at 4-4.
However, the Eagles comeback attempt was brought to a halt in overtime. Scout Truman (UMass-Lowell) sprung himself on a fast break with Eric Martin who found on a pass across the crease. Martin made no mistake in finishing off the Eagles and giving the Dragons a 2-1 series lead.
Camrose Kodiaks 4 – 3 OT Calgary Mustangs
Kodiaks lead series 2-1
Game three still had the goals, but it was a much tighter contest than what games one and two both were.
Neither team could establish a lead through three periods with both trading goals back and forth with one another. McKenzie Welke had a pair of goals for the Kodiaks along with Cody Laskosky. As for the Mustangs, Tanner Klassen, Liam Freeborn, and Joseph Karpyshyn got on the board.
In overtime, after a Joshua Kroon clearance hit the linesman, Kyler Kupka (St Cloud State University) capitalized on the error and finished off the game to give the Kodiaks a 4-3 win and a 2-1 series lead.
Griffin Bowerman was excellent once again for the Kodiaks making 49 saves in game three and bouncing back from a disappointing game two performances.
Spruce Grove Saints 0 – 1 Drayton Valley Thunder
Saints lead series 2-1
The series between the Saints and Thunder was dominated by goaltending in the first two games, and game three was no different.
Luke Lush did his job in the crease, as he does on most nights, making 38 saves to keep the Saints offence at bay. In this series, Lush has continued his great form and has a 0.963 SV % to go along with a 1.35 GAA. With him between the pipes, the Thunder need to get their offence going, and they have a chance at winning this series.
They did get one goal in the game which came from Ty Whitford midway through the second period which resulted in being the only goal of the game.
Bonnyville Pontiacs 3 – 1 Whitecourt Wolverines
Pontiacs win series 3-0
There were more handshakes on day three as the Whitecourt Wolverines fell 3-0 in their series versus the Bonnyville Pontiacs.
Much like games one and two, the Wolverines got off to a hot start when Brayden Labant scored within the first two minutes with his first off the postseason.
The lead didn’t last too long, though, Captain Grayson Constable tied the game up midway through the first period. Constable has been exceptional for the Pontiacs throughout their series with the Wolverines especially in game two when he contributed to all three of his team’s goal in a 3-1 victory.
Daine Dubois got the game-winner late in the first with his fourth of the playoffs. The scoring was finished off late in the third period by Marc-Antoine Benoit against his former team.
It was a tough year for the Wolverines with the amount of turnover they had on their roster. However, they didn’t roll over and die in this series. They really gave it the Pontiacs for three straight games and probably deserved at least one win. The future is bright in Whitecourt with no players ageing out, and a number of players expected to be joining them next year as part of the completion of the Ben Evanish, McKenzie Harden, Ryan Grant and Jaedon Leslie (Ohio State University) deals.
Fort McMurray Oil Barons 4 – 2 Grande Prairie Storm
Oil Barons lead series 2-1
Speaking of Leslie, he got the game winner at the Revolution Arena as the Fort McMurray Oil Barons took a 2-1 series lead over the Grande Prairie Storm.
After Kole Gable gave Fort McMurray an early lead, however, the Oil Barons did have to battle back from 2-1 down in this one after Zachary Okabe (St Cloud State University) and Vincent Milot-Ouellet (UQTR) gave the Storm the lead.
That Grande Prairie lead didn’t last long, though, in fact just 19 seconds after Tyler Maser tied the game up 2-2. Fort McMurray continued their pressure and managed to get a couple more on the board from Leslie and Liam Iyzk (University of Alabama-Huntsville) to get a 2-1 series lead.