Game 6, leading 3-2 in the series, home ice, the Saints couldn’t have written it any better! In front of a capacity crowd of 1,568, the Saints get the job done. It was a roller coaster of a game, it wasn’t always pretty at times, but the Saints defeated the Sherwood Park Crusaders 6-4 and are now heading back to the AJHL Final.
Everything was going well for the Saints in the first period. They would jump out to a 2-0 lead for most of the period. Seven minutes in, Cam Mitchell would toe drag a Cru defender and then beat Matt Berlin on the backhand to open the scoring. Later in the period, Cam Mitchell again would make a move around a Cru defender, cut in on the backhand and then go backhand forehand for his second on a highlight reel goal. The Saints held the Crusader to just 1 shot up until 5 minutes left in the period. Then in the final 5 minutes of the period, things started to fall apart. A minute after Mitchell’s second, Garrett Clegg would get the Cru on the board to cut the lead in half. Two minutes later, Jayden Platz would fire it home from the point to tie the game at 2-2. 40 seconds after that, Arjun Atwal would find William Zapernick out front as the Cru stun the crowd at Grant Fuhr Arena with 3 quick goals to take the lead. Shots in the period were 14-6 Saints but they trail after 20.
The Saints responded immediately at the start of the second period. They put the final 5 minutes of the first behind them, regrouped and got back to playing the way they did to start this game. Just 18 seconds into the period, Brett Trentham in his 4th game back, would get his first goal since November 24th, tying the game back up 3-3. The Saints threw everything they had at Matt Berlin in the period. Halfway through the period on a Saints powerplay, the Cru would get an odd man rush and Arjun Atwal would feed Zach Kaiser on the cross crease to give the Cru a 4-3 lead. Multiple penalties would ensue over the next minute and the game would go to 4v4 hockey for a few minutes. TJ Lloyd fed Ryan Peckford out front who came right off the bench to tie the game right back up at 4. Shots in the period were 26-10 for the Saints as they would head into the final frame with a 4-4 tie.
The Saints headed into the final period trying to do everything they could to find the go-ahead goal. The Crusaders came out hard in the first 5 minutes of the period and they held the Saints to without a shot for the first quarter of the period. Just over halfway through the period, Ryan Peckford stuck with the puck in a battle with Cru defender Michael Bentz. He picked it back up below the right circle and cut out front for a chance. With options out front, Peckford would slide the puck over to Jordan Biro backdoor who would punch the Saints ticket back to the AJHL Finals. With 9 minutes left, the Saints just had to hold onto the lead. With the net empty, Cam Mitchell would complete the hattrick and send the Grant Fuhr crowd into a frenzy. As the clock ran down, the Saints swarmed Matt Davis as they defeat the Cru 6-4 and would eliminate them in 6 games.
The Saints will get a couple days rest before they travel to Brooks on Friday night in Game 1 of the 2019 Inter Pipeline AJHL Cup Finals. #KeepTheCup
By: Adam Kulak
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