Team Alberta held Team Saskatchewan to just ten shots and skated away with a 5-1 win, controlling the play for the majority of the game.
Team Alberta came out with a lot of pressure, spending the majority of the first four minutes in Saskatchewan’s end, forcing Saskatchewan to repeatedly ice the puck. Unfortunately, the pressure wouldn’t amount to anything and Saskatchewan ultimately got on the board first. Working off the half wall, Saskatchewan worked the puck to the front of the net where Taylor Ross (Spokane Chiefs) one-timed the puck past Alberta’s Austin McGrath (Medicine Hat Tigers).
After a little back and forth in the middle of the period, Team Alberta started to push the pace, something Head Coach Serge Lajoie had talked about doing before the start of the game.
“Committing to pushing the pace and keeping the tempo high with short shifts, that’s a work in progress but we saw some positives there [yesterday],” Lajoie said.
The pressure would finally get to Saskatchewan 13 minutes into the first. Mason Shaw (Medicine Hat Tigers) jumped on a big rebound and powered it home from the bottom of the circle to tie the game at one.
“Just a rebound out in front and I got good wood on it and it went in,” said Shaw.
From there it would be all Alberta. Using a lot of net drive, Alberta put Saskatchewan on their heels and began creating chances from quality areas, something that Lajoie had alluded to before the game.
“We’re going to make sure we really are a threat to the middle lane, get pucks on net and get players going to the net,” said Lajoie.
Alberta continued to send pucks to the net until Tyler Steenbergen (Swift Current Broncos) would give Team Alberta the lead after David Quenneville (Medicine Hat Tigers) displayed some great patience to allow the play to develop.
Saskatchewan was unable to really muster any offence in the latter half of the period, hardly getting any shots on net. Alberta finished the period with a 15-6 advantage in that department.
The second period was mostly quiet as Team Alberta progressively got stronger as the period went on. However it would take more than 17 minutes of action before Team Alberta squeaked a puck through Manitoba’s Colby Entz (Red Deer Rebels) on the powerplay. The third goal was credited to Matt Phillips (Victoria Royals).
Less than a minute later, Alberta extended their lead to 4-1 on a goal by Cole Johnson. The second was all Alberta, as they managed 13 shots on net while holding Saskatchewan to only four, as they were kept out of the Alberta end for the majority of the game.
“We just make simple plays and good first passes. The forwards are coming back and giving really good support so it’s pretty easy to keep the puck out and get started on the rush,” said defenseman TJ Brown (Brandon Wheat Kings).
A relatively quiet third for both teams, Alberta had to kill of a five minute major penalty midway through the period, but they stayed strong defensively and didn’t allow Saskatchewan to get a shot on net for the duration of the penalty.
Before the game would end though, Alex Rotundo (Edmonton Oil Kings) would add a fifth goal for Team Alberta.
The game finished with Alberta outshooting Saskatchewan 45-10.
NOTES: Steenbergen finished the game with a goal and two assists... Rotundo added two points to his total... Johnson had a goal and an assist... Quenneville had two assists... McKinstry (Vancouver Giants), Clague (Brandon Wheat Kings), and Dube (Kelowna Rockets) all had an assist.