CALGARY, ALTA, (March 8, 2019) - The SAIT Trojans men's hockey team is still alive and breathing.
Eric Krienke scored with 11:33 left in the second overtime period to lift his Trojans to a 4-3 victory over the visiting University of Alberta-Augustana Vikings in Game 2 of the best-of-three Alberta Colleges Athletic Conference (ACAC) quarter-final series in front of a packed house at SAIT's Campus Centre. A deciding Game 3 will be played back in Camrose, Alta., on Sunday at 7pm.
"(Augustana's Curtis Skip) is a really good goalie, and he made a lot of saves tonight, but it was just a face-off play where Parker (Evans-Campbell) won it back to me right where I wanted it," explained Krienke. "He then got in front of his guy which gave me time to shoot. . . I usually like to shoot high, but I was looking for a hole and got lucky sliding it along the ice."
The win comes 24 hours after the Trojans were beaten 2-1 in Game 1 of the series in Camrose.
Forcing a Game 3 put a smile on the face of Trojans head coach, Brent Devost.
"I have never been looking more forward to a 7pm game on a Sunday night three hours away," he said with a laugh.
The game started quickly for the Trojans, as Colton McCarthy scored the first of two goals on the night just 73 seconds into the game. The score stayed that way for nearly 16 minutes before Augustana tied the game on the power play on a goal from Ryan Groom.
In Thursday's loss, all three of the game's goals were scored in the second period. On Friday, that three-goal trend continued as the Vikings scored twice and SAIT just once.
Just seven seconds after Trojans defenceman Kevin Massy put his team back up, Augustana tied it again right after the face-off when Carter Danczak finished off a 2-on-1 that happened before SAIT fans had a chance to finish cheering Massy's goal.
The Vikings took their first lead of the game just over two minutes later when Cody Young fired one past SAIT goalie Payton Lee to take a one-goal lead into the second intermission.
With their season on the line, Devost said his team remained calm between periods.
"Quite frankly, we stayed composed," he stated. "You have to maintain composure, and I had a lot of confidence in the guys, so that was the message - continue to do what we were doing in the second, stay relentless, stick to the plan."
After a few good chances that Skip was able to turn aside, the Trojans finally got the equalizer when Owen LaClare made great play off the draw, went to the net, deked Skip and then found McCarthy for the tap in with seven minutes left in the game.
After the teams failed to solve anything in the first overtime period, the teams went to a second.
And just under nine minutes into it, Krienke fired home the game-winner on their
50th shot of the night, sliding it between the pads of Skip.
"We won more battles on the forecheck, and when you win the battles on the forecheck, you get the puck more and you're in their zone a lot more. That was evident tonight," Devost said when asked about the high shot total. "We just decided to go after it a little harder than we have been."
On the other side of the ice, Lee faced 33 shots, turning aside 30 of them.