Briercrest knocks off SAIT 7-3
St. George and the dragon... Luke Skywalker and Darth Vader... The Briercrest Clippers and the SAIT Trojans. The ACAC's most penalized team, both this season and last, visited the Barkman Arena Friday night for the first of a two game weekend series.
Thanks to a new league policy, an additional referee was on hand, which raised hopes that this would be a cleaner game than SAIT's previous visit, when they racked up enough minutes in penalties to sit through Twilight. Thankfully, this game was much easier on the eyes than sparkly vampires are- and had the added bonus of not including any biting incidents.
Briercrest got down early, but Alex Bechtold scored his first as a Clipper to even the score. Josh Dufresne then ripped a slap shot past Austin Smith to give the home side the lead eight minutes in. He came within a whisker of scoring again moments later, but was denied by the post. It was then Josiah Friesen's turn to get his first, scoring while a SAIT player was serving two minutes for a slash. The Trojans were able to respond, narrowing the gap to 3-2 before the period ended.
Briercrest traded some chances with the Trojans early in the second, but a turnover in the defensive zone gave SAIT's top sniper, Mitch Board, a clear break on net and he made no mistake, tying the game at three whilst completing a hat trick.The intensity ramped up, and Briercrest showed great composure in not changing their fearless approach. The visitors then had a giveaway of their own, and Jacob Baribeau buried the puck to retake the lead. After that, Marvin Powell showed Josh Donaldson-like sliding ability as he came across to block a sure goal and preserve the 4-3 advantage going into the final period.
The Trojans came out flying in the third. Christian Mueller stood tall in net for Briercrest as the visitors attacked in waves. The home side was then able to grab the momentum as Josh Anderson tipped home a hard shot by Dufresne. Former OHL penalty minute leader Ty Bilcke then took an undisciplined penalty and Brett Lafond made them pay, rifling home a shot on the powerplay to make it 6-3. Josh Peters added another less than two minutes later and the rout was on. A SAIT powerplay shortly afterward gave the guests a glimmer of hope, but it only served to showcase the penalty-killing prowess of Baribeau, Dufresne, and Ricky Seidel. Bilcke blew a gasket at this point, jumping a Briercrest player and getting thrown out (and subsequently suspended) for the second time in as many weekends. Briercrest played the remainder of the game on the powerplay and the crowd soaked it all in as the final buzzer sounded for a 7-3 Briercrest victory.
SAIT coach Dan Olsen shared his thoughts after the game: "We've definitely got some concerns- we've got some guys that have to, you know, straighten out their attitudes and maybe some ego problems, but hopefully it's just a hiccup. After being badly beaten by these guys tonight, hopefully some guys will come back to work and realize it takes hard work to be successful."
Players of the game were Brett Lafond for Briercrest and Mitch Board for SAIT. Honourable mention went to Brennan Gasmo, playing his 100th game for Briercrest. The rematch is tomorrow at 2:00.
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