Admirals down but not out, finish fourth

On a night that was a break it or make it situation, the Sylvan Lake Admirals couldn’t find the guns to maintain third place

By Ted Stephens

On a night that was a break it or make it situation, the Sylvan Lake Admirals couldn’t find the guns to maintain third place in AAA Provincial standings and will end up in fourth.

The Admirals will now wait for the AAA Provincial to begin in two weeks, immediately following the Chinook League playoff.

The Admirals lost last Friday nights’ game to the Stony Plain Eagles 4-1, which left the teams in a tie.

They were tied in more ways than one as the Admirals had won the first two meetings and Stony Plain had won the last two.

The Admirals had scored 16 goals against Stony Plain and the Eagles had scored 17 against the Admirals.

The Admirals, over the season, had scored more goals than Stony Plain (53 vs 43) but have struggled all year with a shortage of manpower on the D side, having to play with forwards doing their best to fill in and D men sitting out with injuries.

Friday was no exception as Barrett Brook was taking no chances with a possible concussion and DJ Brough was nursing a sore back that hadn’t completely healed from last season.

The first period was a dead heat as both clubs were pushing hard to gain the advantage.

The Admirals scored first at 11:44 when Brendan Baumgartner got a solid feed from Travis McMillan to make it 1-0.

The Eagles evened the score less than a minute later on a power play marker.

With 6:51 to go Stony Plain took a penalty and followed it up shortly after, to give the Admirals a 50 second 5 on 3 but the Eagles goaltender was equal to the task, keeping it tied at the end of the first.

The second period seemed to follow the Admirals luck for the season when the Eagles scored just 27 seconds into the frame and barely two seconds after the Admirals had battled off left overtime from a late first period penalty.

Despite being down a goal, the Admirals were pressing and keeping the pressure on. At about the 14 minute mark the Admirals scored to tie the game, but the goal was waived off as the Eagles goaltender kicked the net off while trying to stop the puck.

A controversial call but you can’t fight the boys in stripes and the score remained 2-1 Stony Plain.

After several near misses and big saves in the Eagles end, Stony Plain sprang a player loose with a long pass that had the Admirals D men skating hard to catch up to the play.

Admirals goaltender Calyn Relkoff made 3 stops and thought he had the puck under him when it squirted out from under his equipment and was left laying in the crease.

All Admirals defenders were on the right side of the net when a lone Eagles player found himself alone with the loose puck and barely a nudge was needed to make it 3-1 with 6:01 remaining in the second.

Despite out playing and out shooting the Eagles 17-12 the Admirals received no rewards for the effort and the period ended 3-1 Stony Plain.

The third period was tilted in Stonys’ favour as the Admirals seemed to have lost a little intensity and couldn’t seem to get things back in gear.

The Eagles tender was having the game of the year and all bounces were going the Eagles way. At 16:05 the Eagles scored to make it 4-1 and that was the final goal of the game.

“It was a game we just needed to keep close,” commented Coach Jason Stephens.

“Had we lost 3-2, we’re in third and Stony is in fourth. It was that close. There’s not much to say, we miss the Chinook League playoffs but need to get ourselves ready for the AAA Provincial Championships that start mid-February. Some of our affiliates will be available for that and we hope to have some D men amongst them that will give some needed assistance to our current guys.”

The Admirals next home game will be announced in the Sylvan Lake News and will be posted on the Admirals website at www.sylvanlakeadmirals.com.