AJHL Enerflex Cup Final – Game One

By Cam Tait, Edmonton Journal

The long-time Camrose Kodiak fan stood up at the south end of Grant Fuhr Arena before heading skyward to his seats with an astute observation: “I didn’t think we were supposed to be here.”

No, he wasn’t talking about seating arrangements.

The Camrose Kodiaks: third-place finishers in the Alberta Junior Hockey League south, with a team pundits — yes, me too — suggested they didn’t have the horses to last one playoff round never mind four…the team who would send the boys home for a few weeks rest, after they were eliminated, and then bring them back to Camrose where they will host the RBC Cup — rather than getting there the hard way…the team that rolled into Grant Fuhr Arena and were part of an absolutely superb opening game of the Enerflex Cup.

In the end, Nicholas Bourgeois notched the winner, 2:38 into overtime to give the Spruce Grove Saints a 4-3 come-from-behind OT victory, on their 45th shot.

Camrose scored two goals on four shots in the first period, which, by no means, reflects the the steller performance of Spruce Grove goaltender Vince Marozzi…

The Saints didn’t show any signs of rust since they ended the Fort McMurray Oil Barons March 23…in fact, they outshot Camrose a bunch and if it wasn’t for the heroics of Kodiak goalie Dalyn Flette who put on a clinic, — a terrific paddle save in the opening period while killing a penalty and then a great glove grab in the second, with three and a half minutes to go — the outcome…the shot clock read 31-12 after 40 minutes, and when it was over, would, certainly, be different. The Kodiaks, who just finished their second best-of-seven Tuesday, coming back from a 3-1 series deficit, appear to be getting stronger and stronger.

Spruce Grove turned in a spirited third period effort, scoring three goals…their puck movement and energy, may have worn the Kodiaks down, who, at the 17-minute mark of the third period, were being outshot 43-20.

This series is going to be one for the books…the tempo, almost throughout, was torrid…the hits were there…goaltending, too…and the electric excitement of hockey — in April — where heroes and champions emerge from the most unlikely places.

So to the Camrose fan, who wasn’t supposed to be here, a llittle advice: get to the rink early Saturday for Game 2…it will be a barn-burner.

Read Chris O’Leary’s game story, including the tale of two fans, in Saturday’s Journal.

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