A three-goal second period swung the scales in favour of the Spruce Grove Saints on Saturday night as they took a 2-0 series lead over the Lloydminster Bobcats with a 6-2 victory in game two of the AJHL Gas Drive North Division Final.
Following an evenly played first period, the Bobcats knotted the game at 1-1 early in the second when captain Taylor Mulder deflected a Greg Moro point shot past Saints goaltender Ravi Dattani in the opening minute, providing a spark for the visiting team.
However, the spark was soon extinguished as the Saints answered back.
Four minutes after Mulder's tying goal, Saints forward Austin Hunter knocked in his own rebound to regain the lead, and from there Spruce Grove would never give it back.
Having failed to convert in game one, the Spruce Grove power play struck for the first time just before the midway point of the second period as Nicolas Correale scooped a partially covered puck out from under goaltender Alex Leclerc's glove and in to make it a two-goal lead. This was the start of a long run of successful power plays for the home team.
With both Ryan Chynoweth and Cole Josefchak in the box, the Saints took advantage of a 4-on-3 power play later in the second period as Tyler Busch swatted home a feed from Brandon Biro to take a 4-1 lead through forty minutes.
After outshooting the Bobcats 11-9 in the first period, the Saints poured it on to a tune of 21-7 in the middle frame, making it 32-16 overall at the second intermission.
The penalty parade continued for Lloydminster in the third as frustration set in, and Spruce Grove notched two more power play goals in the first 10:08 to build the lead to 6-1.
All in all, it was a run of seven consecutive power plays for the Saints, with three power play goals scored, and one earlier in the second period for a total of four on the night.
Lloydminster would get back on the board late in the period as Austin O'Rourke pounced on a turnover and fed Kris Spriggs in front, who put it past Dattani quickly to complete the scoring at 6-2.
Shots on goal in the third period favoured Lloydminster 12-9, putting it at 41-28 for Spruce Grove overall.
NOTES: D Griffin Mumby (injury) and F Morgan Messenger (suspension) were out of the lineup for the Bobcats, with Connor Odelein drawing in after missing game one…F Josh Harris (injury), F Colton Leiter (injury), F Jack Hamly, and F Brandon Holterhus were out of the lineup for the Saints, with F Dondre Watson, F Ryan Cox, and D Isaac Farrah making their first appearances in the series…Spruce Grove finished at 4 for 8 on the man advantage, while Lloydminster was kept off the sheet at 0 for 2…After G Matt Murray picked up a game one win for the Saints, Ravi Dattani took over the crease in game two and stopped 26 of 28 shots…Alex Leclerc had 35 saves on 40 shots before being relieved by Pierce Diamond for the final 11:04 of the contest…Both the North and South Division Finals now sit at 2-0 with the Saints and Brooks Bandits remaining undefeated in the postseason…Two of Lloydminster's three victories over Spruce Grove this regular season came on home ice at the Civic Centre.
The series will switch venues as the Bobcats look to strike back on home ice in game three on Monday night, with puck drop at 7:30. Book your seat at tickets.lloydminsterbobcats.com!