The Sylvan Lake Pirates Senior AA hockey team lost 7-2 in their regular season finale against the Eckville Eagles.
The Pirates found the back of the net once in the first period and then again during the middle frame of the Battle of Highway 11 rematch.
Going into the second intermission the score was 4-2 for the Eagles, who had scored two goals each period.
The Eagles kept the Pirates at bay resulting in a scoreless third period, while Eckville added three points to the scoreboard in the final 20 minutes of play.
“The game actually went OK, it’s just we ran into a little bit of penalty trouble,” said Pirates Head Coach Tim Sylvester, adding the refereeing was not one sided and they called a “really, really, really tight” game.
“We had to try to adjust and the guys had a tough time doing that and we ran into some penalty problems, but so did the other team, just they capitalized on the chances that they had and we couldn’t capitalize on the chances we had,” explained Sylvester.
Despite finishing the regular season with a loss, Sylvester says he and the team are happy with the way the season went, and making the playoffs in the inaugural season made it even better.
“I was really happy, like I’ve taken teams that are lesser teams and done way less and I’ve taken better teams and done less than this team has done,” said Sylvester.
The Pirates will face off against the Red Deer Rustlers in first round playoff action beginning on Jan. 26.
Coach Sylvester says Red Deer has a good team, but the Pirates are up for the challenge.
“Nobody gives up on this team and that’s one of the biggest things,” said Sylvester. “You get down by a couple of goals and some teams will shut down or your goalie will shut down and these guys have always played for their goalie and their goalie has always played for them and I think that it’s going to be a really, really tough series, but you never know.”
The best-of-five series will begin with two games in Red Deer on Jan. 26 and Jan. 27.
Game 3 will be played at the NexSource Centre on Feb. 2 at 7:30 p.m.
Sylvan Lake will also host Game 4 if needed and puck drop will be at 1:45 p.m. on Feb. 3.
If a tiebreaker is necessary, the Pirates and the Rustlers will head to Penhold for Game 5.
“I hope the fan base is there for people to come out and watch some good hockey,” said Sylvester of the Pirates’ upcoming home games, “if people really enjoy it they’ll come out and they’ll support it.”
“The last game we had [in Sylvan Lake] they really did, so I’m just hoping that that’s what happens again and everybody gets a good show and has a good time.”
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