St. Paul Canadiens start 2-0 after pair of four-goal wins against the Vermilion Tigers in the opening weekend of the NEAJBHL 2020-21 season. The Lac La Biche Clippers start Nov. 15 against the Canadiens.
The Cold Lake Ice drew a familiar foe to start the regular season over the weekend in the Wainwright Bisons, and find themselves 0-2 to start the year against the perennial league contenders.
The Ice played even for much of Friday night’s home opener in front of limited fans thanks to goals from league newcomers Parker Pye and Brandon Bujold, but the Bisons scored three unaswered goals in the third period to win 5-2.
On the road in Wainwright, Cold Lake scored two quick goals in the third period to tie the game 3-3, but third-year forward Kailin Belcher’s goal midway through the frame proved to be the winner, as the Bisons added a empty netter to win 5-3.
“We just had some breakdowns at our end at the wrong times,” said coach Scott Hood after Friday’s loss.
“I think our guys worked hard for close to 60 minutes. That’s the four-time defending league champions. They’re a good team, year in year out, so that’s a good measuring stick right off the hop.”
With the current health protocols, teams will take two-week breaks into games because of the cohort sizes and the need to self-isolate from that cohort with that time.
That means just 12 games this season with each team having a bye week this NEAJBHL season, so every game has a significant impact on the playoff picture with four of seven teams making the postseason.
“It’s such a weird year. We could sit and talk about it for two hours. But we just gotta play every game like it’s our last,” said Hood.
Dustin Johnson-Watson made 82 saves over the weekend.
The Ice host the Vermilion Tigers (0-2) on Sunday, November 15 at 4:00pm.
Canadiens-Clippers will face off for the first time since cancelled NEAJBHL Final
Zandro Luck-Palliotto, Tysne Stanski, and Nedelec Zach each had three points and the St. Paul Canadiens leveled a 7-3 win against the Vermilion Tigers on opening night at the Clancy Richard Arena on Friday.
Each team took swings in the first period, tied 3-3 after Alex Hunter tied the game for the Tigers with eight seconds left before the intermission.
Martin Lucas, Dylan Lindal, Ty Milgate, Nedelec Zach scored the followup goals, as the Canadiens had six different goal scorers.
That balanced offense held up on Saturday, earning a 6-2 win and a nice start to the season for a team looking to build off a championship calibre season in 2019-20.
They will play the Lac La Biche Clippers on Sunday, November 15 — the two teams that were set to square off for the NEAJBHL Championship in March before it was postponed and cancelled due to the pandemic.
Goaltenders Bradley Mistol and Logan Nagel each start their seasons 1-0.
In the other league matchup, the Killam Wheat Kings beat the Lloydminster Bandits 5-1 and 7-4 to start the year.