AJHL Division Finals (March 24th)

By pbadmin

St. Albert 8 at Lloydminster 2
The St. Albert Saints, the 1997-98 AJHL Champions had their backs against the wall on this night, down 3-0 in the series but they came out fighting. To shake things up, they gave goaltender Kirby Millar the start over regular starter Scott Kabotoff.
The Saints wasted no time getting on the board as Pavel Beranek scored 1:50 in on the powerplay, assisted by Marc Collins and team captain Mike Buchan. It was Beranek’s fourth of the playoffs, and 13th point. Near the end of the period the Blazers tied it up at one as Mark Hallam scored a powerplay goal of his own – his seventh of the playoffs. However, Marc Collins gave the Saints the lead again a minute later with his first of the postseason, assisted by Buchan, and Collins assisted on Buchan’s second of the playoffs to give his club a two-goal edge.

The Blazers came out flying in the second and eventually were able to beat Kirby Millar. Travis Barnes scored with 11:51 to go in the period. Joey Bastien then struck for two goals near the end of the period – his seventh and eighth – to make it 5-2 Saints.

St. Albert continued to put on pressure in the third and eventually scored a couple of quick goals – by Rob Ziemmer and Andrew Gibson – to make it 7-2 Saints. At that point they chased goaltender Ray Fraser from the nets as Kevin Rutherford got his first AJHL playoff action of the season. Bastien would add one on Rutherford to complete his hat-trick.

Olds 3 at Calgary Canucks 9
This was the second game in this series so far that Calgary has manhandled the Grizzlys, but the Canucks have yet to win a game in Olds.
Oddly enough, this was a close game. Don’t mind the score, for a large part of the evening it looked as if the Grizzlys were going to pull off another stunning upset. In the first period there was only one goal, and it was scored by Olds’ Rob Plester. It was Plester’s third of the playoffs.

In the second, the Canucks struck early and both teams struck often. AJHL leading scorer Dany Heatley scored 37 seconds into the period to tie it up for the Canucks, but the Grizzlys stormed ahead once again. Jeremy Yousph netted his second of the playoffs on the powerplay at 3:11. The Canucks tied the game up again only eight seconds later as Roger Leonard scored – this goal may have changed the tempo of the game. Calgary’s Ryan Manitowich gave his club their first lead of the night only three minutes after that. However, the Grizzlys continued to fight back. Dana Lattery scored an unassisted powerplay marker to tie the game at three with 11:15 left. Heatley then scored his second of the game to make it 4-3 and Moe Halat scored his third of the post-season, assisted by Heatley with 2:02 to go in the second.

The Canucks blew the game wide open in the third. Steve Albrecht, David Wilding, and Heatley scored within a four-minute span to make the game 8-3 Calgary as Leonid Hryshukevitch was chased from the Grizzlys nets. Wilding then added his second of the game in the dying minutes of the game to produce the final score.

Three Stars
(1) Marc Collins – Played possibly his best game ever as a Saint. Zero points in the playoffs going into the game, but four points tonight (1g, 3a). The Saints are still alive! (2) Dany Heatley – Five point night, showing why NHL scouts are following him around prior to this year’s draft. (3) Joey Bastien – One man wrecking crew for the Saints, had three unassisted goals.
On Tap
March 26th – Calgary Canucks at Olds Grizzlys, 7:30pm MT
Calgary leads best-of-seven series 2-1
March 27th – Lloydminster Blazers at St. Albert Saints, 7:30pm MT
Lloydminster leads best-of-seven series 3-1