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Lloydminster 4 at Fort Saskatchewan 1
The Lloydminster Blazers will live to see another day as the stage was set for Game Seven Thursday in Lloydminster.
Paul Esdale opened the scoring for the Blazers with 34 seconds remaining in the first period. Jamie Weiss and John Davidson assisted the goal. Lloydminster’s netminder Ray Fraser stopped 11 Fort Saskatchewan shots in the period.
In the second, the Blazers put an immense amount of pressure on the Traders’ end. They ended up with 17 shots on Fort Sask goaltender Nick Boucher but were only able to dent the twine once. Scott Pratt scored his team-leading fifth of the playoffs to make it 2-0 Blazers.
In the third period, Kyle Werner extended that lead to 3-0 11 minutes in and Brandon Denham scored his first of the playoffs – on the powerplay – with two minutes remaining to ice the game.
Fort Saskatchewan’s Ryan Campbell spoiled Fraser’s shutout bid by scoring with 23 seconds left, but that was all the 1,414 fans at Jubilee Rec Centre in Fort Saskatchewan would have to cheer about on this night.
Calgary Royals 2 at Olds 6 (Grizzlys win 4-2)
The Olds Grizzlys will now have the pleasure of facing the Calgary Canucks in the AJHL semi-finals as they completed a stunning upset of the Canucks’ cross-town rivals, the Calgary Royals.
Jeremy Yousph opened the scoring just under seven minutes in as he converted a Ryan Watson pass on the powerplay. Later in the period, Watson fed Dana Lattery his fifth goal of the playoffs as the Grizzlys put the Royals behind the 8-ball early on.
The outcome of the game was no longer in doubt as Joel Macauley scored his fifth of the playoffs 23 seconds into the second period. After being outshot 18-9 in the first period and now down 3-0, the Calgary Royals – who were more than 20 points ahead of Olds in the regular season – had their backs against the wall. Ryan Joseph did try and close the gap as he scored a powerplay marker with 11:17 remaining in the second, but Olds came right back with a shorthanded goal of their own as Greg Davis netted his team-leading seventh of the playoffs. Joseph scored his second of the game and third of the postseason shortly thereafter, however, and the Grizzlys took a 4-2 lead into the second intermission.
Notably absent from the scoresheet on this night was Royals leaders Krys Kolanos, Ben Knopp and Ryan Bachmeier. One of the keys for the Royals to win this series was for all three to be firing on all cylinders. Knopp had played very well in the five games leading up to tonight, but was not able to help the club on this night. Colen Pappas would make it 5-2 with 8:27 remaining and Mike Harper scored an empty netter as the Olds Grizzlys won the series four games to two in front of a disappointing crowd of 88.
(1) Ryan Watson – 1999 draft eligible forward had only one assist in the playoffs leading up to this game, but added three more tonight.
(2) Ray Fraser – Came within seconds of his first shutout of the postseason.
(3) Scott Pratt – Scored a key goal in the second period to give the Blazers a commanding 2-0 lead.
March 18th – Fort Saskatchewan at Lloydminster, 7:30pm MT
Best-of-seven quarterfinal tied 3-3