The St. Albert Merchants are skating in the right direction to start off the season in the Capital Junior B Hockey League.
Scores were 6-5 in Friday’s shootout decision against the Morinville Jets at Akinsdale Arena and 4-2 against host Wetaskiwin Icemen on Sunday.
Ethan Crotty backstopped the Merchants to victory last weekend with 25 saves against the Jets and a whopping 62 stops against the Icemen, the defending CJHL Founders Cup champions.
The second goal by Liam Thomas in the home opener was the only score in the third period after the Jets tallied twice in the last 75 seconds of the middle frame to regain the lead at 5-4.
Thomas also sniped the shootout winner.
Peter Corrigan potted a pair, Matt Havens tallied once and Andy Barr added two assists as the Merchants outshot the Jets 35-30, including a 5-1 margin in the five-minute overtime period.
In Wetaskiwin, the shot count was 18-14 in the first, 23-12 in the second and 23-10 in the third for the Icemen.
Cam Mazur opened the scoring in the first, Brenden Passek (power play) and Barr made it 3-1 in the third and Mark Matsuba sealed the win into an empty net.
Havens and Adrian Parth collected two assists apiece.
Friday the Merchants entertain the Beverly Warriors, winners of two games last weekend by shutouts. Faceoff is 8 p.m.
Lee Gadoury was on fire last weekend with six goals in two games for the Morinville Jets.
Gadoury torched the North Edmonton Red Wings with four markers in Sunday’s 7-4 victory at Ray McDonald Sports Centre after lighting the lamp twice in Friday’s 6-5 shootout loss to the St. Albert Merchants at Akinsdale Arena.
All of Gadoury’s goals were at even strength except the first one against the Merchants to knot it at one in the first period.
Gadoury also assisted on Brett Dubuc’s goal to make it 4-4 with 1:15 left in the second.
The fifth-year Jet raised his career totals to 86 goals and 156 points in 150 league games after the Jets registered three out of a possible four points to kick-off the Capital Junior B Hockey League season.
Jaron Coles and Zach Mcrae also scored against the Merchants.
Joshua Perrott, Brennan Grocock and Brett Kampjes picked up two assists apiece and Colton Kucher faced a game-high 35 shots.
Regan Regimbald, Mcrae and Perrott found the back of the net against the Red Wings.
Perrott, Michael Woloshyn and Scott Woloshyn had two helpers each.
Shots were 33-31 for the Red Wings, who were 1-for-9 on the power, and Jaeden McConnell was in net for the Jets.
Tonight the Jets visit the Stony Plain Flyers (1-1) at 8 p.m. at Glenn Hall Centennial Arena.
Sunday the Jets host the Spruce Grove Regals (1-1) at 7:15 p.m.
Slash in action
The road to the 2018 Esso Cup in Bridgewater, Nova Scotia starts Sunday for the defending midget AAA female national champion St. Albert Slash.
The Alberta Female Hockey League lid-lifter against the Calgary Fire starts at 12:15 p.m. at Go Auto Arena.
The Slash roster consists of 10 returnees from the first Alberta team to win the Esso Cup.
The Slash was also the first team in the tournament’s nine-year history to finish a perfect 7-0.
It was the second Esso Cup for the Slash but the first as the Pacific Region champions. The St. Albert Raiders Hockey Club team made its debut in the 2004/05 season and in 2011 hosted nationals and placed fifth overall.
Among the players back are Tyra Meropoulis, the golden goal sniper in overtime in the 1-0 Esso Cup final against the Harfangs du Triolet (Quebec) of Sherbrooke in Morden, Man., Camryn Drever, the recipient of the tournament’s top goaltender award with one goal against in five starts while posting four shutouts, and Madison Willan, the AFHL’s rookie of the year as the league’s leading scorer with 25 goals and 50 points in 28 games.
Dan Auchenberg, the AFHL coach of the year, is also back behind the bench.
The St. Albert Gregg Distributors Sabres recorded three out of a possible four points during the opening weekend in the Alberta Major Bantam Hockey League.
The Sabres settled for a 4-4 draw Saturday against the SSAC Southgate Lions at Akinsdale Arena and blew away the Maple Leaf Athletic Club 10-1 Sunday at Millwoods Arena.
The Lions scored the equalizer with 1:48 remaining after Evan Arnold’s unassisted effort put the Sabres on top 4-3 with 2:46 to play.
Ethan Sundar, Zakk Makeiff and Palmer Strang (power play) also connected.
Shots were 38-19 for the Sabres and Matthew Tebbutt was in net.
Tebbutt also faced 15 shots against the Maple Leafs.
David Saunders, Tyson Greenway and Sundar struck twice and Arnold, Makeiff, Dylan Leslie and Levi Fesyk also scored as the Sabres were credited with 44 shots on goal.
Breck McKinley and Holden Selin each had two assists.
The next game is Sunday in Lloydminster against the Bobcats at 5:15 p.m.
Midget AA action
The Northern Alberta Midget AA Hockey League season starts Friday for the St. Albert Source for Sports Crusaders
Game time is 8 p.m. against the Fort Saskatchewan Rangers at Go Auto Arena.
Monday the 2017 NAMHL finalists host the Leduc Roughnecks at 8:30 p.m.
The Crusaders lost the best-of-five final in three games to the Strathcona Warriors to finish 25-17-3 in league and playoffs combined.
Meanwhile, the league opener for the St. Albert Blues is Tuesday against SSAC Lakewood Chevrolet at 8:30 p.m. at Mark Messier Arena.