Sylvan Lake Admirals have dug a hole for themselves in the Senior Mens AAA provincial playoffs, down three games to none.
Over the weekend the Admirals lost twice to Bentley Generals who have only lost three times during the regular season and playoffs combined.
On Friday night in Sylvan Lake, it was the Admirals who struck first, late in the first period. With 3:38 to go Paul Mailey from Aaron Boyer and Brendan Baumgartner in a hard skating effort. The period ended with the Admirals leading and shots on net were 14-13 Bentley.
More great action in the second saw both teams with quality chances but it wasn’t until near the 11 minute mark into the second that Bentley found the equalizer.
The third period started in a 1-1 tie. An errant pass found a Generals stick and they scored 28 seconds into the period. The battle continued with the Admirals scoring at 13:04 on a power play, Cody Esposito getting the equalizer from Justin Daigle. Less than two minutes later Bentley scored the go ahead goal that would eventually prove to be the winner. Bentley scored again with 2:34 remaining and a fifth goal into an empty net, rounded out the scoring.
“I thought we stayed with them all night,” said Coach/GM Jason Stephens. “We got a couple of penalties in the third that shifted the momentum just enough we couldn’t seem to get back on track. We also lost defenseman Barret Brook to a foot injury and that put extra pressure on our back end. Little mistakes cost us the most, as Bentley is capable of taking advantage quickly.”
Game 3 was Saturday night in Bentley and both teams came out of the gate full tilt. The first period ended in a 0-0 tie.
Midway through the second period Bentley scored the only goals of the period. First at 11:53 followed at 8:59.
Although the Admirals did a solid job on the ice, Bentley found their way to the net and scored twice more in the third at 6:30 and 3:37. The game wasn’t without incident as Cody Esposito and Kyle Sheen decided to settle their differences with 1:02 remaining. It was going to happen sooner or later as they had been at each other for the last two games and whatever bad blood was left from the regular season. Both players were gone for the fight with less than 10 to go in the game and an extra game for removing their helmets.
The Admirals also lost Cris Neurauter when he made a huge hit against a Bentley player with two seconds to go. The hit looked solid to me but Neurauter was given a 10 minute match for intent to injure. Final score 4-0 Bentley.
“We just didn’t get shots on net,” said Stephens “You can’t win games getting 15 or 20 shots on net and giving up four goals. The math just doesn’t work. No question we have had more than our fair share of injuries but tonight we played 50 minutes of hockey and Friday night it was 55, Bentley played 60 minutes both nights and were rewarded for their efforts. There is no magic here, to win it will take plain hard, grinding, never say die hockey for a full 60 minutes and maybe then we’ll get rewarded for the effort.”
Game four in this best of seven series is Friday at the multiplex in Sylvan Lake at 8:30 p.m. and game five (if needed) goes Saturday night in Bentley 7 p.m.