The St. Paul Canadiens were on the road this weekend to take on the T-Birds in Frog Lake. The game was a rematch of last week’s matchup in St. Paul, which the Canadiens won 8-3. St. Paul was looking to add another win in the column while Frog Lake, struggling this season with just one win, tried to shut them down at home. The Canadiens’ offence was in fine form, helping out on the way to a 7-2 St. Paul victory.
Special teams played a big role in St. Paul’s game with Frog Lake taking a substantial amount of penalties. After a first-period scrap between the T-Birds’ Calem McNabb and the Canadiens’ Tanner Carr, the scoring opened up. Dyson Roy notched the first goal of the game for St. Paul on an unassisted effort. Less than three minutes later, Frog Lake found themselves penalized for having too many men on the ice. On the man-advantage, Brayden Burak set up a fantastic play, getting the puck deep to Alexander Astasiewicz. Then, Astasiewicz passed the puck across the net to where Roy was waiting, burying it in the wide-open net for his second goal of the night.
The T-Birds took two penalties in short succession; one at the tail-end of the first period and one at the start of the second. This gave St. Paul ample time and room to score another power-play goal, which they did. In a situation nearly identical to the previous goal, Orrie Wood scored on a cross-ice pass from Zach Bendall to put the Canadiens up 3-0.
Momentum was fully in favour of St. Paul in the second period. Brendan Levasseur scored the Canadiens’ fourth goal of the game at the five-minute mark. Shortly thereafter, Wood scored his second of the night to give St. Paul a five-goal lead.
Austin Bill was finally able to score for Frog Lake early in the third period. But penalty issues continued to be the T-Birds’ downfall. Preston Yole took a roughing minor, and Bailey Lonsberry scored St. Paul’s third power-play goal of the night just seven seconds later. Navarro Lane scored another goal for Frog Lake 11 minutes into the final frame, but Dyson Roy officially sealed the night with a hat-trick goal in the final minute, finalizing the 7-2 final score.
T-Birds Head Coach describes this game as indicative of many of the aspects that his team needs to improve upon.
“We’re working on a lot of different things right now,” he said after the game. “We’ve basically got a sign above our heads that says ‘work in progress.’ That’s not a bad thing necessarily; it gives us a chance to grow and find our footing as a team. But that team cohesiveness just isn’t there. We’re always adjusting lines, tinkering and trying to tweak things here and there. That’s what happens when you have to replace around 15 guys in a single year. Our discipline, our defensive play, our power-play—all these things definitely need to be worked on.”
The T-Birds played a much stronger game on Sunday against the Vegreville Rangers, winning 9-2.
“We played better defensively on Sunday, for sure,” Smyl said. “And offensively, we executed well on our opportunities. The chances that came our way, we capitalized on them.”
The weekend’s games bring Frog Lake to a 2-6-1 record on the season, putting them second-to-last in the league. They sit behind the Rangers, who are winless at 0-9-0. Meanwhile, St. Paul sits in the middle of the pack with a 4-4-1 record. Both teams will be in action this weekend.
St. Paul has a double home stand on Friday and Saturday, against Vermilion and Killam, respectively. Frog Lake will also play Vermilion, but on the road on Saturday. They’ll return home to play the Lloydminster Bandits on Sunday.