Calgary Canucks 4 at St. Albert Saints 3
After a second heartbreaking defeat in a row, the St. Albert Saints find themselves in a familiar position – down three games to none.
The Saints started the game on a high. On a delayed penalty call, Andrew Gibson ripped a puck past Canucks netminder Mike Gilhooly. His goal was assisted by Joey Bastien and Pavel Beranek. Three minutes later, only ten seconds after Mike Buchan went to the box Dany Heatley ripped the puck underneath the cross bar from the right faceoff circle.
The Canucks made it 2-1 early in the second as Ryan Manitowich ripped a shot from the top of the left faceoff circle that somehow eluded Scott Kabotoff. St. Albert tied it up with two minutes to go in the period, however, while up two men on the powerplay. Rob Ziemmer picked the top corner on Gilhooly to even the game up.
In the third, it looked as if the Saints would win as they came out flying. Ron Grimard scored a goal from Joey Bastien and Pavel Beranek 3:16 into the period to give the Saints a 3-2 lead but the Canucks battled back. The club put on a lot of pressure late in the period. The turning point was likely when Ron Grimard broke in on a partial break with about eight minutes to go, but instead of him scoring his chance was negated by a Pavel Beranek interference call. The Canucks scored on the ensuing powerplay (Heatley unassisted) to tie the game up. From that point on it truly looked like the teams were headed for overtime.
There are two things that must be observed if one hopes to defeat the Calgary Canucks. First, if they get a goal you must make sure they don’t get another one, two, three or four afterwards. They defeat many teams in that manner. Second, and perhaps most important, do not let them score in the last minute of a period. Almost all the Canucks victories this playoff season have involved a goal in the last minute of a period. The Saints appeared well on their way as they had observed both factors – that is until the 19:48 mark of the third period. At that time, with the big line of Dany Heatley-Moe Halat-Ryan Manitowich out there and pressing for a late chance Saints defenceman Chris Lane coughed up the puck in his own zone. Heatley took the opportunity and buried it behind a sprawling Kabotoff (the two incidentally will be teammates next year at Wisconsin). The Canucks win the game 4-3 and now lead the series three games to none.
(1) Dany Heatley – Three goals, including the all-important game winner with seconds left in regulation. This was my first chance to see Heatley live this year and without a doubt he is a phenomenal player. Wisconsin will welcome him with open arms next year.
(2) Ryan Manitowich – One goal and two assists. Was on the ice for all four Canuck goals.
(3) Joey Bastien – Two assists and made things happen offensively all night.
April 8th Calgary Canucks at St. Albert, 7:30pm MT
Calgary leads best-of-seven championship series 3-0