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St. Albert 1 at Grande Prairie 2
In a defensive struggle, the Saints dropped their first game of the series to the Grande Prairie Storm as all the scoring in the game fell within a three minute period.
With 5:26 left in the second, Shane Mudryk put the puck behind surprise starter Kirby Millar of the Saints, assisted by Rob Kimble and Clint Lehune. 23 seconds later, the Storm made it a 2-0 lead as Mark Grumetza took a pass from Lonnie DeHaan. On the powerplay, several minutes later former Edmonton Ice Joey Bastien scored, assisted by Pavel Beranek and Jeebo Manah and the Saints pulled to within a goal.
In the third period, the Saints threw everything they could at Grande Prairie netminder Chad Rycroft, but Rycroft turned aside all 15 shots and the Storm guaranteed they’d be playing back at Akinsdale Arena in St. Albert for at least one more game.
Olds 3 at Calgary Royals 7
This game was about as close to must-win as the Royals could get this early in the playoffs and they definitely rose to the occasion. Billed as possibly the only team in the South who could upset cross-town rivals Calgary Canucks, it looked for awhile like they would not get that chance. However, after tonight’s win they are without a doubt back in it.
Jamie Iwamoto was a surprise start in goal for Calgary as starter Peter Dobrowolski, who played almost 75% of the team’s games this season, allowed 15 goals in the first two games.
Scooter Smith opened the scoring for Calgary five minutes into the game but Dana Lattery scored a powerplay marker five minutes later as the teams went to intermission knotted at one. In the second, Brad Kruikshank, Scott Meyerhoff and 16-year-old Ben Knopp blew it open for the Royals. Olds’ Tyler Brosz made it 4-2 to put the Grizzlys to within striking distance just before the second period ended.
In the third, Calgary’s Les Laplante made it 5-2 in the early going to basically snuff out Olds chances on this night. Ryan Melbourne scored a powerplay goal in the dying minutes of the game to bring Olds to within two but that was as close as they were going to get. Kruikshank and Meyerhoff added empty netters to seal the game. Olds goaltender Leonid Hryshukevitch did what he could for his club, as he stopped 46 of the 51 shots directed at him.
(1) Chad Rycroft – Grande Prairie goalie showing signs that he may be able to steal the St. Albert series on his own.
(2) Brad Cruikshank – Enforcer was five minutes short of 500 in the regular season, but showed up on the scoresheet tonight with two goals and three points.
(3) Leonid Hryshukevitch – Olds goaltender stops 46 in a losing cause.
March 10th – St. Albert at Grande Prairie, 7:30pm MT
St. Albert leads best-of-seven quarterfinal 2-1
March 10th – Fort Saskatchewan at Lloydminster, 7:30pm MT
Fort Saskatchewan leads best-of-seven quarterfinal 2-0
March 10th – Calgary Canucks at Camrose, 8:00pm MT
Calgary leads best-of-seven quarterfinal 1-0
March 12th – Calgary Royals at Olds, 7:30pm MT
Olds leads best-of-seven quarterfinal 2-1