Canadiens defeat Bandits with strong defense
The St. Paul Canadiens defeated the Lloydminster Bandits 2-1 on Saturday evening at the Clancy Richard Arena, becoming only the second team in the league to pick up a win against the Bandits in regulation.
The victory improves the Canadiens record on home ice to 4-2, and to do it against one of the best teams in the league added a special satisfaction for Canadiens Head Coach Joe Young.
“I thought it was unreal,” he said. “We beat one of the best teams. We worked hard, and it shows that it paid off.”
St. Paul and Lloydminster stayed tied 0-0 through the first period of the game, in a tight back-and-fourth of offensive plays from both sides.
Jalel Abougouche stepped up for the Canadiens in the second period, firing the first goal of the game past Bandits netminder Scott Yanota, off a pass from Tyler Bunce, giving the Habs a narrow 1-0 lead after 40 minutes.
St. Paul extended the lead to 2-0 early in the third period, this time with Bunce finding the back of the net on a feed from Abougouche.
The Bandits answered back less than a minute later to cut the lead back down to one, but the Canadiens remained strong on defense, thanks largely to a solid effort from goaltender Jared Lafond
“The goalie this game was amazing,” said Joy Tremblay, team trainer with the St. Paul Canadiens. “He made some phenomenal saves.”
Lafond kept close guard over the net throughout the game. This was especially evident in the third period, when Lloydminster pulled their goalie, redoubling their offensive plays. Lafond made 35 saves on 36 shots, 16 of which came in the third period.
“It felt good all the while,” said Lafond. “It’s easy to play a good defense, when our team plays that well. Our team showed up to play. We showed that we can beat the top team in our league when we play to do so.”
Bunce was “ecstatic” when asked about his assist and subsequent goal later in the game, and that the experience of contributing to the win was “unreal.”
“We’re the only team to beat them, from 4-9 on the standings. We worked our asses off, and eventually came out with the W. It was awesome. Lafond, our goalie, was amazing. He kept us in the game.”
Young added that the Habs put forth a solid every through every minute of Saturday night’s match up, which was pivotal in picking up the win.
“If you don’t play a whole 60 (minutes), you end up on the losing end of things,” he said. “We played a whole 60 against them.”
The Canadiens played again on Sunday evening in Onion Lake against the Border Chiefs, picking up an 8-1 win. The Canadiens now have an 4-7-1 record on the road.