| Posted: Wednesday, Mar 26, 2014 01:45 pm
The best-of-five Founders Cup is now a best-of-three series between the St. Albert Merchants and Fort Saskatchewan Hawks in the Capital Junior B Hockey League.
Game three in the playoff final goes tonight at 8 p.m. at Akinsdale Arena.
Game four is 8 p.m. Friday in the Fort and game five, if needed, is 8 p.m. Sunday at Akinsdale.
Both teams will represent the CJHL at provincials, starting April 3 in Grande Prairie, after winning their respective best-of-seven semifinals.
Last weekend the Merchants won the series opener 7-2 in St. Albert and lost game two 3-2 in overtime in the Fort.
Josh Jewell spearheaded the attack in game one with two goals and two assists as the Merchants outshot the visitors by a whopping 63-34 margin.
Jed Groenenboom had a breakout game with one goal and two assists from the blueline.
Stefan Meunier, Jared Kwasney, Thomas Rotundo and Brent McGugan also scored, Casey Reid had three helpers and Justin Pawlenchuk posted the win in net.
The Hawks evened the series on Joey Morin’s goal in sudden death.
Rotundo opened the scoring on the power play in the first and Reid’s power-play goal in the second knotted the score at two apiece.
Shots were 40-36 for the Merchants, including a 10-7 spread during 12 minutes of OT. Pawlenchuk (8-3, 1.48 GAA) started his 11th straight playoff game.
In the regular season the Merchants finished first in the west division at 34-3-1 as the Challenge Cup pennant winners and the Hawks placed second overall at 27-10-1 as the east division leaders.
In the season series the Hawks handed the Merchants their second loss in regulation time, 6-2 in the Fort in November and the Money Men won 2-1 in St. Albert in January.
Jewell leads the Merchants in playoff scoring with eight goals and 17 points. Reid and Blair Macuch are tied for second in points with 14 apiece. Meunier and McGugan share the team lead in goals with six each.
The longest day of the season for the St. Albert Saints ended with an overtime loss to the Strathcona Warriors in Sunday’s final at the Hockey Alberta peewee AA provincial tournament.
Carter Chorney’s hat-trick goal 11 seconds into the second extra frame was the 4-3 gold-medal winner at Akinsdale Arena.
Chorney forced overtime with the only goal of the third period.
The Saints rallied from a 2-0 deficit in the second stanza on consecutive goals by Carter Savoie and Stuart Dovey’s go-ahead marker with 5:16 left in the period.
The Saints outshot the Warriors 39-28 overall.
Earlier in the day the Saints edged the Blackfoot Chiefs 1-0 in a semifinal marathon that was decided on Ethan Leyer’s goal 1:58 into the third OT period at Northstar Hyundai Arena. Brett Bamber assisted on the game winner.
The Saints outshot Blackfoot 55-28, including a 24-3 margin after regulation time. Ryley Osland was in net for the Saints and Taylor Gauthier was between the pipes for Blackfoot.
The length of the semifinal, which started at 8:30 a.m., forced Hockey Alberta to move back the final by 30 minutes, as per provincial regulations requiring a minimum of three hours between games.
In the round robin the Saints finished first in pool A at 4 -0 and Strathcona was the top pool B team at 2-1-1.
The St. Albert Sabres placed fifth in pool B at 1-2-1.
The Saints were led offensively by Dominik Cesarz’s six goals and 10 points. Riley Morgan scored five times and Savoie notched nine points.
Midget AA final
The puck drops Friday night between the St. Albert Crusaders and Peace River Royals in the Northern Alberta Midget AA Hockey League final.
Faceoff is 7:30 p.m. at Akinsdale Arena.
Game two in the best-of-five series starts is 2:30 p.m. Saturday and game three is 12 p.m. Sunday at Akinsdale.
If needed, games four and five are scheduled for April 5 and 6 in Peace River.
The Crusaders (22-4-6) and Royals (23-8-1) placed first in their respective divisions and in the playoffs St. Albert is 6-1 and Peace River is 6-2.
At provincials last weekend in Wainwright the Crusaders beat the Royals 7-4 in pool A.
The Crusaders also defeated the KC Colts 6-3 in a rematch of the best-of-three league semifinal. The Crusaders rallied from an opening game loss to hand the Colts their first two losses of the season.
At provincials the Crusaders finished 2-2 for third place in their pool after losses of 5-4 to the Okotoks Oilers and 4-2 to the host Polar Kings.
Lady Raiders win
The St. Albert Lady Raiders will challenge the two-time defending champion Rocky Mountain Raiders of Cochrane in the Alberta Major Bantam Female Hockey League after winning more games in the playoffs than in the regular season.
The best-of-three final starts Friday and the entire series will be played in Cochrane.
Rocky was the top team in the south at 20-1-3 and the local Raiders placed fifth out of six teams in the north at 5-11-8.
The sixth playoff win for the Raiders was Sunday’s 4-3 triple overtime thriller against the host Sherwood Park Royals. Sophie Lalor scored the series winner in the 35th minute of sudden death. It was Lalor’s league-leading eighth goal and 14th point in the playoffs.
Hayley Basterash forced overtime with 50 seconds left in regulation time and the goalie pulled for the extra attacker.
Ella Fedoruk connected in the first and Brandy Steinman trimmed the deficit to 3-2 with 6:19 to play in the third.
In net was Hannah Clark (6-1, 1.72 GAA).
The Raiders extended the series to a deciding game after doubling the Royals 4-2 Saturday at Akinsdale Arena.
Consecutive goals by Brooke Serdachny, Lalor, Olivia Patterson and Grace Borle in the second erased a 2-0 deficit.
Shots were 30-19 for the Raiders and Clark was in net.
The Royals, ranked second in the north at 14-8-2, won the series opener 1-0 in Sherwood Park.