Junior B playoffs
Merch Madness continues for the St. Albert Merchants against the west division pennant winners in the Capital Junior B Hockey League.
The best-of-five quarter-final between the Merchants (21-16-1, 150 GF/150 GA) and Beverly Warriors (26-11-1, 168 GF/100 GA) started Friday in St. Albert but the score was unavailable at press time.
Beverly hosts game two Sunday at Clareview Arena and game three Wednesday at Confederation Arena and the face-off times are 8 p.m.
If needed, game four is Friday at Akinsdale Arena and game five is Feb. 25 at Londonderry Arena and they start at 8 p.m.
The winner advances to the best-of-seven semifinals.
The teams split the season series with the Merchants winning 4-2 Sept. 29 and 3-2 Nov. 24 in St. Albert and Beverly was victorious 8-2 Nov. 8 and 7-2 Feb. 4 at Clareview Arena
In the west division qualifying round, Beverly had a bye and the fourth-place Merchants defeated the fifth-place Stony Plain Flyers (15-20-3) in the third and deciding game of the series and Tuesday’s score was 5-4 in St. Albert.
Cam Mazur’s goal with 1:23 left in the second period was the winner after the Flyers tied it at four 64 seconds earlier.
The Flyers led 3-2 after the first and Daniel Spatafora and Peter Corrigan replied on the power play in the opening six minutes of the middle frame.
Brendan Passek and Mark Matsuba also capitalized with the man advantage in the first.
Matt Havens finished with three assists and Matusba and Corrigan had two helpers apiece.
Shots were 16-8 in the third and 39-31 overall for the Flyers.
Ethan Crotty (seven saves on nine shots in 12 minutes) and Brandon Boughen (28 saves on 30 shots in 48 minutes) shared net duties.
Havens led the Merchants in scoring in the series with five points.
The teams traded 4-3 overtime decisions leading up to game three. In game one at St. Albert, Andy Barr lit the lamp in the opening minute of sudden death after Jack Langenhahn sniped the equalizer with a few seconds left in regulation time. Game two at Glenn Hall Centennial Arena was decided on Eric Lacombe’s OT winner after potting the only goal in the third.
The Flyers swept last year’s qualifying series against the Merchants and two years ago The Blue Guys beat the Stony squad on Mazur’s series clincher in double OT in game three.
The St. Albert Gregg Distributors Sabres are in Grande Prairie this weekend for two games against the Storm to wrap up the regular season in the Alberta Major Bantam Hockey League.
The nitro division Sabres (23-3-8) are ranked first in the north conference and second overall in the AMBHL behind the challenger division Calgary Bisons (28-3-4) in the south conference.
The Storm (15-17-2) are third in the charger division.
The best-of-three nitro semifinal between the Sabres and SSAC Southgate Lions (12-15-8) is expected to start Tuesday in St. Albert but the AMBHL playoff schedule was unavailable at press time.
The Sabres are 2-0-2 against SSAC in league play and the scores were 4-4 Sept. 23, 6-1 Nov.7, 3-3 Jan. 4 and 6-3 Jan. 24.
The last home game before the playoffs was Wednesday’s 6-2 decision against MLAC Scott Pump (4-28-2).
Ethan Sundar poured in three of his five goals in the third period for 28 on the season by the team’s leading scorer with 59 points. His second marker was a shorthanded effort to make it 2-0 in the second.
Zachry Desranleau also found the back of the net, Chase Visser picked up two assists and Matt Tebbutt (12-0-5, 2.26 GAA) was between the pipes.
Shots were, believe it or not, 51-9 as the Sabres rebounded from last weekend’s 2-1 loss to the host Leduc Oil Kings (16-10-8), the top team in the charger division, that ended a 22-game undefeated streak at 16-0-6.