Merchants win big
Junior B team rocks Beaumont 9-0 in semifinal opener but loses three players to injuries
By: Jeff Hansen
| Posted: Saturday, Mar 08, 2014 06:00 am
Thursday’s 9-0 blowout of the Beaumont Chiefs in the semifinal lid-lifter came at a price for the St. Albert Merchants.
The Money Men lost three key players to injuries – defenceman Dan Rombough (upper body) and forwards Ryan Harrison and Liam McNamara (both lower body).
The trio’s status for game two Friday in Beaumont (score unavailable at press time) and game three Sunday at 8 p.m. at Akinsdale Arena was unclear after game one in the best-of-seven playoff in the Capital Junior B Hockey League.
In the series opener at Akinsdale Arena all-star netminder Justin Pawlenchuk (4-0, 0.75 GAA, .974 save percentage) recorded his third consecutive playoff shutout while stopping 28 shots.
Blair Macuch, A.J. Yariwon and Josh Jewell potted a pair each and Jordan MacPhee, Brent McGugan and Taylor Wiebe also scored as the Merchants directed 38 shots against two Beaumont goalies. Macuch and Yariwon finished the contest with four points apiece and Casey Reid had two helpers.
Game four is 8:30 p.m. Wednesday in Beaumont.
If needed, game five is 8 p.m. Friday at Akinsdale, game six is March 16 at 5:30 p.m. at Beaumont and game seven is March 19 at 8 p.m. at Akinsdale.
The winner qualifies for the April 3 to 6 provincials in Grande Prairie and will play the Fort Saskatchewan Hawks or North Edmonton Red Wings in the best-of-five Founders Cup final.
The Merchants, CJHL pennant winners at 34-3-1, are 4-0 in the playoffs and the Chiefs (18-16-4) are 5-2 with four overtime wins.
In league play the Merchants blasted the Chiefs 7-1 in St. Albert and lost 3-2 in Beaumont to end a 17-game winning streak.