The Cold Lake Ice and St. Paul Canadiens finished their last regular season game on Friday, with Elijah Brown scoring a pair of goals in the third period and overtime for the Ice in a 5-4 victory.
The season-series after six games is tied three apiece with Cold Lake’s win, who started out with a great first period, leading 2-0 after 20 minutes thanks to markers from Josh Butt and Noah Cook.
However, the Canadiens stormed back with three unanswered goals in the second period. Brody Green, Isaak Watters, and Liam Boyko got to work offensively in the latter half of the frame to put St. Paul ahead 3-2 into the intermission.
After a quick equalizer from Devon McCormack, the Canadiens re-established the lead with roughly 5:30 left to go in regulation thanks to Kurtis Labant. That set the stage for Elijah Brown’s tying goal just a minute later, and his eventual game winner in overtime.
“You’ve got to give our guys credit for battling back in the third and playing well,” said Coach Scott Hood about the game.
“We tied it 3-3 and then on the powerplay in overtime. So you’ll take those games. What I told the guys after is that we have to play like that every night, and every game is gonna be like that if you want to get to your end goal of going into playoffs.”
On Saturday, the Ice travelled to Wainwright to take on the league’s best team and came back empty-handed with a 7-1 loss. Despite being stronger record-wise, Cold Lake has given the Bisons a challenge this year, handing them two of their four losses during the regular season.
“We didn’t play that bad. They got up 3-0 with some defensive lapses on our part. We came back to make it 3-1 but then another tricky goal…We didn’t quit. And we just kept playing. And I mean, obviously they’re in first place for a reason. They got beat on Thursday. So they wanted to come out with guns blazing and we didn’t answer the bell,” said Hood.
The Ice have six games before the regular season concludes on February 5.
In part because of the Lac La Biche Clippers folding and Cold Lake’s standings situation, the Ice know they will be taking on the Vermilion Tigers in the first round of the NEAJBHL playoffs.
The top two teams in the league will get a bye into the second round of playoffs, while the 3-seed will play the 6-seed and the 4-seed plays the 5-seed.
This weekend, Cold Lake will head to Killam for a pair of contests against the Wheat Kings.
“We try to do one overnight trip a year in January just for some team bonding and kind of get ready for the playoffs,” said Hood.
“But as long as we keep playing well and building for playoffs it will help us out, so we’re going there for two wins.”