A promising start for the Olds Grizzlys in game one of their AJHL first-round series with the Calgary Mustangs came to a crashing halt thanks to a four-goal second period by the homestanding Mustangs en route to a 7-2 loss and a 1-0 deficit in the series.
Despite outshooting and outchancing the Calgary squad for much of the first 40 minutes, the black and gold found themselves down 5-1 after two periods and wondering what they have to do to slow down the red-hot ëStangs.
ìWe had a pretty good start but we just didn't have the bounces going for us at the beginning,î said Grizzlys forward Bart Moran, who had the first goal for Olds to bring the score to 3-1 midway through the second.
While Moran's marker brought the Grizzlys some instant momentum, it was quickly snuffed out by a quick response less than three minutes later from the Mustangs, winners of five straight coming into the playoffs to wrestle home-ice advantage in the series away from Olds.
ìIt's a momentum killer when you get a goal that brings your team right back into it and then you lose it right away Ö it sort of brings the guys down,î Moran explained. ìWe tried to get right back on it after that, but it was rough.î
It was a tough night for Grizzlys netminders as starter Brandon Thiessen was pulled after the second Calgary goal early in the second period in favour of Riley Parker who was touched up for the other five goals against.
A goal from the team's leading scorer Taylor Bourne midway through the third brought the locals back to within 5-2, but a pair of late goals ended up flattering the home team's final scoreline.
However, Moran acknowledged that the series if far from over with a day off today before game two on Saturday afternoon back at the Father David Bauer Arena in Calgary.
ìWe'll just recover mentally and use practice as best can and focus on what we did wrong this game and get better,î the rookie forward suggested. ìWe always have to keep our intensity up and always got to stay positive on the bench and deal with the bitter taste of the loss and how much we hate these guys.î
Game two has a 2:45 p.m. start time on Saturday afternoon after the Mustangs couldn't secure ice time for a Friday night slot when the rest of the south division series will play the second game in the best-of-five series.
Grizzlys Pause ñ The Mustangs/Royals franchise hasn't won a first-round series in six seasons, having made it back into the playoffs last year following a two-year absence from the post season. Since winning the AJHL title in 1990-91, the franchise has only won two playoff series since Ö The Grizzlys will be looking to avoid a second straight first-round exit from the post-season. Game three in the series will be Sunday afternoon at the Olds Sports Complex with a 3:30 p.m. puck drop. Game four, if necessary will be Monday night at 7:30 p.m. in Olds. A fifth game would be Wednesday night back in Calgary Ö in the other series openers on Thursday night, Brooks beat Canmore 6-2 on home ice while the Drumheller Dragons posted a 2-0 shutout of the Camrose Kodiaks on the road.