Heading into game four of a best of seven series against the Onion Lake Border Chiefs, the St. Paul Canadiens were ahead 3-0, after a close call on Feb. 20, where the Border Chiefs took the Canadiens into double overtime.
After losing the first two games of the series in St. Paul (8-2, 8-1) Onion Lake came out strong on Monday night at home, and grabbed a 2-0 lead before the Canadiens could find the scoreboard.
Near the end of the second, Brodin Ference would score the first goal of the game for St. Paul, with Onion Lake fighting hard and netting a goal of their own just before the second period came to a close.
Heading into the third with a score of 3-1, the Canadiens mounted a comeback, with Morgan Greve scoring first, and Brayden Goulet tying up the game at 3-3. The third period would come to a close and the game would be pushed into overtime.
Play would continue into a second overtime period, but less than a minute in, Ryley Wozniak would net the game-winner, unassisted. The Canadiens were set to play in Onion Lake again on Wednesday night.
Despite being down early in the game, the St. Paul Jr. B Canadiens kept their cool, and mounted a comeback in the first playoff game of the season on Feb. 15, coming out way on top with a decisive 8-2 win over the Onion Lake Border Chiefs.
An estimated 300 fans stopped by the Clancy Richard Arena on Wednesday to show their support for Junior B hockey, and a team that has excelled throughout the season.
Despite Onion Lake taking a 2-1 lead in the first period, the Canadiens stayed calm, according to coach Joe Young.
“There wasn’t much panic . . . We just stuck to the plan.&”
Young admitted that the Canadiens had a bit of a slow start, but didn’t discount the two goals that Onion Lake scored, saying they were good goals. But, a much more physical, upbeat team would emerge as the game went on, and the Canadiens would dominate the second and third periods.
Assistant Captain Ryley Wozniak offered a standout performance, opening up scoring for the Canadiens, and then tying up the game 2-2 before the first period came to a close. He also collected a couple more points for assists, later in the night.
When asked if he’s noticed any players stepping up as of late, Young pointed to Wozniak, saying, the veteran player may not have had the regular season he was hoping to have, but if he keeps playing how he played last Wednesday, it will only make the entire team that much better.
“He’s kind of taken it upon himself to work harder,&” says Young, adding, the rewards are starting to show.
Wozniak had only good things to say about his teammates after the win.
“Everyone came out to play last night and it was a great way to get the tone of the series with an 8-2 win. We will just keep going game by game, until we get to our goals,&” he says.
The Canadiens also saw local midget player Isaac Porozni hit the ice on Wednesday night. Porozni is an affiliate player with the Canadiens. The young player also added points to the scoreboard, showing off his skills during a strong second period.
Also scoring on Wednesday night in the second period was Zach Bendall and Aaron Gagne. Gagne also assisted in the first two goals of the game.
Brayden Burak and Dyson Roy grabbed the last two goals of the night for the Canadiens during the third period.
Goalie Tyler Kwiatkowski faced 30 shots on goal through the night, while the Border Chief’s goalie saw 36 shots taken.
Getting physical, and taking more shots on net will be keys to further success as the playoffs move forward, says Young.
“That’s the style we’ll need to play.&”