Saints Force Game Seven

Photo – Absent Light Photography:

The Spruce Grove Saints avoided elimination and forced a game seven on Sunday night with a 2-1 OT win over the Whitecourt Wolverines.  Game Seven will be played Tuesday night in Whitecourt.

(2) Whitecourt Wolverines vs. (3) Spruce Grove Saints
Series tied 3-3

The two best words in playoff hockey have been and will always be ‘game seven’ a reality we’ll get to see play out Tuesday night at the Scott Safety Centre.

Having prolonged their season by two extra games, the Spruce Grove Saints will be hoping momentum is on their side as they go for the incredible 3-1 series comeback against the Wolverines.

They may have momentum on their side heading into Tuesday’s contest, given they’ve managed to score a pair of wins in Whitecourt throughout this series.

Both coaches would be the first to tell you the old hockey cliche of the regular season not meaning anything in the playoffs, but in this case, that is mostly true. The home team won all six regular season, but have won just two of the six games in this post-season series. Both of those home wins also came in overtime.

Whitecourt will be looking for a better offensive showing at home. They’ve scored just five goals through three home games in this series compared to nine on the road. The Saints meanwhile are in the exact same situation, scoring five goals in their three home games and nine on the road. As marginal a stat as that is, quirky little things like that could make the difference come game seven.

Both teams are also in a dead heat of sorts for special teams. The Saints have eight goals on 40 opportunities this post-season while the Wolverines have scored a similar amount of goals on three chances.

Only one winner can emerge from Tuesday’s game, but it’s sure to be a dandy for hockey fans of all backgrounds when the puck drops at 7:30 p.m. at the Scott Safety Centre.

(1) Fort McMurray Oil Barons vs. (4) Bonnyville Pontiacs
Oil Barons win series 4-1

Though the Pontiacs took first blood in the series, it was all over for them a week later as the MOB strung together four impressive wins. Friday’s fifth game of the series might have been the most impressive of those wins.
Down 1-0 after the first 20, the MOB’s offence erupted for four second period goals, their most in a single post-season period in almost five years. I t brought an end to a challenging series for the MOB, where they experienced the highs and lows of two double overtime games while also grinding the Pontiacs gradually out of the series.

The rookie line of Jarred White, Liam Izyk and Nicholas Leeseberg supplied four of the 17 MOB goals in the series, with three of them counting as game-winning goals. Eric Szudor also stepped up his game in the series, allowing nine goals throughout the five games.
On special teams, the MOB went three-for-22 in the series. Five games may not be large enough of a sample size to say whether they’re doing well or not, but the team’s play at even strength has more than compensated for any lack of special teams scoring.

Obviously a tough result for the Pontiacs to swallow, they came oh so close to shifting the momentum of the series during their two home games, but could never close out the victory, losing a third period lead in game three and falling in a lengthy double overtime battle in game four. Goaltender Sandro Silvestre logged over 320 minutes of action in the series, but despite some strong efforts in net, never left with the win attached to any of those games after game one.

By Robert Murray @NovaCanuck