AJHL Division Finals (March 21st)

By pbadmin

Lloydminster 5 at St. Albert 3
The Lloydminster Blazers put a stranglehold on the series as they won for the second straight night in St. Albert.
The game began the same way as Game One as Joey Bastien of the Saints deposited the puck in the open net after a wild scramble in front. His goal was assisted by Ron Grimard. Six minutes later, with 4:28 left Jamie Weiss tied the game up for the Blazers and shifted the game’s momentum. Shots after one period were Saints 15, Blazers 13.

On to the second period, the Blazers took command of the game. It was Weiss again, with his second of the game, scoring six minutes in and last game’s hero Paul Esdale made it 3-1 Blazers on a goal assisted by Mark Hallam. Despite the fact that the Blazers scored two goals that period, it was largely dominated by St. Albert. The Saints outshot Lloydminster 14-9.

In the third, the Saints came out flying and Darren Peebles’ hard work eventually resulted in a goal. With the gap now down to one, the Saints were pressing but could not get a goal past Ray Fraser who was both good and lucky on this night. With 2:00 remaining and the Saints on the powerplay, a brutal giveaway in the neutral zone eventually resulted in Mark Hallam heading on a breakaway. He scored to make it 4-2 Blazers. With just under 50 seconds left, the Saints brought the deficit to one again as Ron Grimard scored, but it was not meant to be. Jamie Weiss sealed it for Lloyd as he got the hat-trick into the empty net in the dying seconds.

Calgary Canucks 3 at Olds 4
The Olds Grizzlys evened the series at 1-1 which puts them above most people’s expectations already. The fact that they knocked off a very good club in the Calgary Royals could make this series interesting, though I – and pretty much everyone else – won’t go out on a limb and boldy predict a Grizzlys series victory just yet.
The game started with the Canucks flying as Miles Hunter took a Roger Leonard pass and made it 1-0 28 seconds into the game. The Grizzlys’ Colen Pappas tied it up for Olds before the period ended, however. Olds goaltender Leonid Hryshukevitch made 17 stops in this period and was the difference by far.

In the second period, it was the Grizzlys who were flying. First, Rob Plester made it 2-1 Grizzlys just over three minutes into the period. Then, 30 seconds later Joel Macauley doubled his club’s lead, converting a Rob Plester pass. The Grizzlys made it 4-1 with several minutes to go in the period as Dana Lattery scored a powerplay marker.

In the final frame, the Canucks seemed to have little to no attack left in them. They were outshot 14-13 in the period and could not dent the twine behind Hryshukevitch until there was 5:21 left. At that time, two 1999 eligible draftees Dany Heatley and Drew Norman scored about a minute apart to make it 4-3 Olds. That was as close as Calgary could get, however, as the Grizzlys took their first game of the series.

Three Stars
(1) Leonid Hryshukevitch – He’s going to have to be good if the Grizzlys have a prayer – and he was very good on this night.
(2) Jamie Weiss – A hat-trick leads Lloydminster to a sweep on the road in the first two games of their division final.
(3) Rob Plester – Goal and an assist helps the Grizzlys hand Calgary their first loss of the post-season.
On Tap
March 23rd – Lloydminster Blazers at St. Albert Saints, 7:30pm MT
Lloydminster leads best-of-seven series 2-0
March 24th – Olds Grizzlys at Calgary Canucks, 7:30pm MT
Best-of-seven series tied 1-1