WESTLOCK - The Westlock Warriors came up a goal short in a crazy, 8-7 Saturday-night shootout loss to the top club in North Central Hockey League, the Camrose Crush.
Played at the Max McLean Arena in Camrose Nov. 12, the Warriors came out of the gate with their hair on fire, as goals from captain Mike Ivey and Taylor Heck, plus a powerplay marker from Clayton Eisler, gave them a 3-0 lead with under eight minutes to go in the first. But the Crush wouldn’t go away quietly on this night and scored two before the end of the frame, then vaulted ahead with two more unanswered goals in the second.
The Warriors were able to tie the game 4-4 on a Kyle Dronyk powerplay marker and regained the lead on a goal from Zach Mills with 3:40 left in the frame, but the Crush came back yet again and tied the score 5-5 with 52 seconds remaining in the second, then went ahead 6-5 with a powerplay goal with one second left on the clock.
Camrose extended their lead to 7-5 at 12:13 of the third, but back-to-back powerplay goals from Dronyk and Peddie in a 39-second span knotted the score yet again and forced extra time. After five minutes of scoreless OT, the clubs went to the shootout, with Camrose potting two on goalie Jordan Duffy, while Peddie was the only Warrior to cash in.
Ivey said they probably deserved a better fate and could have hit double digits as they peppered the Camrose keeper with 49 shots. That said, they’ll take the road point and put it in the bank as they currently stand at 3-2-0-1 in the NCHL, good enough for fourth place in the seven-team league. The Crush sit in first in the NCHL and remain undefeated at 6-0-0-0, while the Lacombe Generals are second at 5-0-0-1 and the Morinville Kings stand in third with a 5-1-0–0 record.
“We played well and I think we deserved to win, but we’re happy to come away with a point against a really good team,” said Ivey. “We scored seven goals and I think we could have probably scored five more. Our special teams had a big turnaround as we only gave up one powerplay goal and scored four on the powerplay ourselves.”
The Warriors host the Bonnyville Pontiacs this Friday, Nov. 18, with puck drop at the Rotary Spirit Centre slated for 8:30 p.m. Although the Warriors have already beaten the 1-6 Pontiacs by a 4-1 score back on Oct. 23, Ivey said they won’t look past them.
“We’re looking to keep our offence going as it was nice to get some of the guys off of the schneid this past weekend. We know Bonnyville is a good club and they’re not a team we’ll ever take lightly,” he added.