Huge third period gives Briercrest hockey first home win of the season, defeat Voyageurs 8-3
Now that's more like it. Briercrest won the second half of their weekend series with the Voyageurs in decisive fashion. With the win, Briercrest has a three game undefeated streak and move to within six points of the sixth place. They will now cheer for these same Voyageurs as they head to Red Deer to play the Kings tomorrow, who occupy that final playoff spot.
Briercrest started the first period looking determined to erase the memory of the night before. Playing with a target on his back as the Clippers' leading scorer, Aaron Armstrong took a hit to make a play, passing to Joachim Hanberg, who set up Taylor Epp for an early strike. It was then Stephen Langford's turn, converting a pass from Matt Melo to double the lead. The teams would clamp down after that, playing the remainder of the period with no further scoring.
The second period tested Briercrest's penalty kill early, before an undisciplined penalty by Portage would give Briercrest a man advantage. The visitors stunned the crowd, however, by scoring shorthanded to cut the lead in half. Briercrest would answer right back, with Josh Peters taking the feed from Dan Stollery and Brett Lafond and rifling it past Portage's goaltender to make it 3-1. Portage would pin Briercrest in their own end for a lengthy sequence before adding their second goal on the afternoon. The home team showed better concentration after this, hitting the crossbar after a good forecheck. Epp and BJ Pirus then sent in Armstrong, who deked beautifully for the goal that would make it 4-2 after 40 minutes.
There was a sense of excitement in the building as the third period started. The fans sensed that the first home win of the season was near. It was at that point that Jacob Baribeau had The Shift. While killing a penalty in the early moments of the third and the momentum of the game still up for grabs, Baribeau forechecked tirelessly, first turning back the guests, and then stealing the puck behind their net to pass it to Jordaan Braun, who scored shorthanded to open a three goal lead. It was a dagger. Portage would add one more, but goals by Epp, Erik Robitaille, and Baribeau sealed the runaway win. Assists were credited to Baribeau, Langford, Dan Stollery, Dirk de Waal, Josh Peters, and Josh Anderson. It all added up to the largest margin of victory Briercrest has enjoyed in quite some time. Christian Mueller made several key saves throughout the game and won his first game as a Clipper.
Captain Josh Dufresne was proud of his team.
"It was just a great team effort, it was awesome to see so many guys contribute offensively,” Dufresne said. “It's so important for us to commit to defense too, and when we do that, we have success. Hopefully we can continue that."
Players of the game were Taylor Epp for Briercrest and Samuel Spencer for Portage. Briercrest heads to Augustana next weekend for their final regular season road trip.
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