Playoff updates highlight Rinkside Report

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Junior B playoffs

Game three is on tap tonight for the St. Albert Merchants and Morinville Jets in their respective best-of-five west division playoff series in the Capital Junior B Hockey League.

Faceoff times are 8 p.m. between the Merchants (21-16-1) and Beverly Warriors (26-11-1) at Confederation Arena and the Jets (24-12-2) against the North Edmonton Red Wings (25-11-2) at Londonderry Arena.

The Merchants are on the brink of elimination after losses of 5-2 Friday in St. Albert and 6-2 Sunday at Clareview Arena.

If needed, game four is 8 p.m. Friday at Akinsdale Arena and game five is 8 p.m. Sunday at Clareview.

The Jets and Red Wings are even at one win apiece after Friday’s 3-2 double overtime win by the Jets at Londonderry and Sunday’s 4-3 decision by the Red Wings at Ray McDonald Sports Centre.

The Jets host game four Friday at 8:30 p.m. and game five, if needed, is 8 p.m. Sunday at Londonderry.

The series winners advance to the best-of-seven semifinals.

The Merchants and Jets qualified for the quarter-finals as St. Albert needed three games to eliminate the Stony Plain Flyers (15-20-3) in the opening round and the Jets swept the Edmonton Mustangs (14-20-4) in the best-of-three series.

In game one against Beverly, the Merchants were outshot 19-8 in the first period and 46-25 overall.

Period scores were 3-1 and 4-1 for Beverly, the top team in the west standings.

Matt Havens and Robert Putt scored for The Blue Guys and Brandon Boughen was between the pipes.

In game two, Havens tied it at one in the first and evened the score at two in the second. Beverly replied with the winner with 8:21 left in the middle frame and three more goals in the third. The fifth goal was a power-play marker with 9:30 remaining during a five-minute slashing major to Liam Mowatt.

Shots were 21-5 in the third and 48-22 overall for Beverly as Boughen (1-2, 3.93 GAA) went the distance.

The Jets drew first blood in the playoff against the Red Wings as Tyler Sonnichsen potted the OT winner after the North Edmonton squad scored with 1:49 left in regulation time with their second power-play goal of the night.

Regan Regimbald and Brett Kampjes (power play) also connected for the Jets in support of netminder Colton Kucher.

Shots were 7-4 in OT for the Jets and 35-30 overall for the Red Wings.

The rematch was decided in the last period as the Red Wings struck twice with the man advantage after the Jets rallied for goals by Brett Dubuc and Liam Thomas in the second to make it 2-2.

Dubuc also capitalized on the power play with 2:34 to play.

The Jets outshot the red Wings 44-33 and Kucher (2-1, 2.50 GAA) tended the twine.

Sabres playoffs

The playoffs are underway for the St. Albert Gregg Distributors in the Alberta Major Bantam Hockey League.

Game one in the best-of-three nitro north division semifinal against the SSAC Southgate Lions (12-15-8) was played Tuesday in St. Albert and the score was unavailable at press time.

Game two is 7:45 p.m. Friday at Bill Hunter Arena and game three, if needed, is 3:30 p.m. Saturday at Go Auto Arena.

The winner plays the Sherwood Park Flyers (20-8-8) or CAC Lehigh Cement (20-12-4) in the best-of-three division final.

In the nitro standings, the Sabres (25-3-8, 186 GF/76 GA) finished first and SSAC (12-15-8, 101 GF/110 GA) placed fourth and in the season series St. Albert was the top team at 2-0-2.

The Calgary Bisons (29-3-4, 154 GF/57 GA) of the challenger south division are ranked first overall in the AMBHL.

Ethan Sundar was the top offensive player for the Sabres with 28 goals and 64 points as the second-highest AMBHL scorer.

Royals playoffs

The opening playoff round for the St. Albert Royals starts Thursday in the Rural & Edmonton Midget 15AA Hockey League.

Game one in the blue pool round-robin series is against the host Red Deer Chiefs (18-5-4).

The Royals also play SSAC APD (6-21) 7:30 p.m. Saturday at Akinsdale Arena, SPKAC Senators (15-11-1) Tuesday in St. Albert and CAC Volvo (11-15-1) Feb. 28 at 7:45 p.m. at the Akinsdale rink.

The top two teams in the blue pool advance to the best-of-five semifinals.

The Royals finished third behind Red Deer and the first-place Hockey Central Panthers (19-4-4) in the 10-team division.

Joshua Cyr and Adam Olsen led the Royals in scoring with 24 points and Olsen and Hayden Carlson shared the team lead in goals with 12.

The Royals are back home for the playoffs after competing at the 17th annual Phoenix Presidents’ Day Invitational, sponsored by the Arizona Hockey Club.

The Royals finished 1-1-2 in the U16/U17 AA Adams division. Scores were 3-2 over the Portland Jr. Winterhawks, 4-4 against OCHC Newton and 3-3 against Jr. Coyotes Allen and the 6-3 loss to Jr. Ducks Noviello.

Flyers at home

The St. Albert Flyers skate on home ice tonight in the Alberta Minor Midget AAA Hockey League.

Puck drop is 7:45 p.m. between the Flyers (20-5-6) and SSAC Bulldogs (9-15-8) at Akinsdale Arena.

Four points separate the Flyers and first-place Sherwood Park Squires (23-6-4) in the north standings and St. Albert has two games in hand with five remaining before the Sutter North Cup provincial qualifier, March 8 to 11 at Fort Saskatchewan. Three teams from the north advance to the midget 15 provincials, March 21 to 25 at Lethbridge.

The Flyers spent last weekend competing at the 17th annual Phoenix Presidents’ Day Invitational and finished 2-1-1 in the U16/17 AAA division. Scores were 3-2 over AZ Bobcats Conacher, 6-2 loss to the Yale Lions, 1-1 draw with the Pursuit of Excellence and 10-1 over Wenatchee Wilderness.

Pursuit of Excellence placed first at 3-0-1 in the five-team tournament.

Slash results

The St. Albert Ron Hodgson Slash and Lloydminster Steelers face-off for the third time in a row in the Alberta Female Hockey League and Saturday’s puck drop is 7:45 p.m. at Go Auto Arena.

The Slash (19-8) are second and the Steelers (15-9-2) are fourth in the midget AAA division after the 2017 Esso Cup national champions from St. Albert posted wins of 4-1 and 4-2 last weekend in the Border City.

Makenna Schuttler, Madison Willan, Shyla Kirwer and Jayme Doyle (empty net) scored in game one.

Camryn Drever (10-3, 1.39 GAA) made 16 saves and the Slash recorded 31 shots on net.

Willan, Schuttler, Kirwer and McKenzie Hewett tallied and Kiah Vail added two assists in game two.

Shots were 29-26 for the Slash and Brianna Sank (9-5, 1.56 GAA) was in net.

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About Author

Jeff Hansen

Jeff Hansen joined the St. Albert Gazette in 1991. He writes about sports, athletes and teams from St. Albert and area.