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Saturday , 28 May 2022

Cold Lake takes Game 2, but suffers heartbreaker in Game 3 vs Tigers

The Cold Lake Ice will need a win to return to Imperial Oil Place this postseason. After hosting Game 2 and 3 against the Vermilion Tigers this past weekend, the Ice trail in the series 2-1.

Vermilion took Game 1 on home ice last Thursday, before Cold Lake leveled the series with a victory on Saturday 3-2. Keanu Foulds scored a pair of 3rd period goals while Dustin Johnston-Watson made 30 of 32 saves for the win. Brenan Rosychuk got the goal-scoring going with the lone first period marker. Both Foulds and Rosychuk brothers Brenan and Brant played earlier this season with the Lac La Biche Clippers.

Coach Scott Hood enjoyed his team’s effort in Game 2.

“We played well. That’s close to 60 minutes of good, hard hockey. No team ever plays perfect every game, but we battled tonight. We knew this was a must-win game and we came out and showed it. It took all four lines, 6 D and our goalie to get the win,” he said in the postgame. 

Game 3

With the series continuing in Cold Lake, the Tigers jumped out to an early lead thanks to Ethan Nelson. Then Rosychuk scored his second goal in as many games and Scott Thackeray potted his first postseason goal this year to take a 2-1 lead into the 2nd intermission.

However, that’s where the tide turned. Vermilion’s Connor Roscue fired home the tying goal almost 6 minutes into the 3rd period, leading up to a controversial end of the game.

Ice captain Noah Cook stepped up to lay a hit on Roscue in the neutral zone after he dumped the puck. Cook clipped Roscue low, leading to the officials calling a tripping penalty with just 58 seconds remaining in regulation.

While a man short, the Tigers broke into the Ice zone with a couple neat passes, leaving Andrew Beres streaking down the middle to score the winning goal with just six seconds left.

The Tigers host Game 4 and 5 of the series on Thursday and Saturday nights at the Vermilion Stadium.

If the Ice can win either of those games, they’ll force a Game 6 back in Cold Lake on Sunday, February 20 at noon.

If the series is still knotted up, than a deciding Game 7 returns to Vermilion next Tuesday evening.

Awards

The North Eastern Alberta Junior B Hockey League regular season award winners have been announced.

Ice captain Noah Cook was named the league’s Best Defenceman. Cook played in 34 games this season, scoring 6 goals and 22 assists.

Noah Cook.

“It’s always nice to get recognition like that and I think everyone growing up knows you just want to work hard,” said Cook during Game 2. “It’s a team game first so even though it was nice to get that, you have butterflies while you’re getting it thinking about the game we have today. There’s nothing like playoff hockey, just the atmosphere. And we’re playing a team that really likes to work hard, plus we’re a team that’s more work hard than skill so we’ve had a couple good games so far.” 

Coach Scott Hood also complimented the year Cook has put together on the team’s backend.

“Overall he’s a great kid. I’ve had him three years and I think three years as an affiliate, I’ve got to know him quite well. He’s just a well-rounded individual that’s going to be successful in life and on the ice. He is our heartbeat, if he’s going, our whole team is going. He makes smart plays, he’s played some good hockey and his effort is through the roof every game. He doesn’t say a whole bunch, he moreso leads by example, but it’s a well-deserved honour.”

Meanwhile, Vermilion Tigers coach Ryan Earl was named Coach of the Year. Earl’s squad finished with a 11-14-3 record for the 4th-seed in the NEAJBHL standings. 

Ryan Earl with the Coach of the Year award. Credit: Vermilion Tigers.

About Michael Menzies

Menzies is the editor-at-large for Connected Media Inc. Born and raised in Vermilion, he started in May 2018 during his NAIT Radio and Television practicum and reports on local politics, sports, and community issues. He became the Bonnyville Pontiacs play-by-play voice during the 2019-20 season. He also comments on provincial and national issues. Menzies hosts Connected! Evening Monday-Thursday at 5 o’clock. He also likes to buy books and read some of them.