CALGARY, ALTA., (Nov. 17, 2018) — The SAIT Trojans men's hockey team nearly let victory slip through their fingers Saturday night.
The Trojans blew a 4-1 third-period lead, but found a way to get the job done with a 5-4 win in double overtime over the visiting Red Deer College Kings in their Alberta Colleges Athletic Conference (ACAC) game played at SAIT Arena.
"The game was filled with momentum swings," said Trojans head coach Brent Devost. "We came out flying, and then they took it back midway through the second period off of some great power plays. . . We talk a lot about discipline, but we have to shore it up. We were a little disappointed in some of the calls that went against us, but you have to deal with that. I'm proud of the guys for sticking with it and getting the job done."
SAIT moves to 8-4 on the season. Red Deer falls to 8-2-1-1.
"The guys came together at the end," Devost added. "Our leaders were settling things down on the bench. . . We stayed confident right until the end."
The Trojans started the game off well, as Owen LaClare (2nd year, Edam, Sask., Power and Process Operations) came out from behind the Red Deer College net and beat Kings goalie Troy Trombley top shelf to make it 1-0.
Parker Evans-Campbell (3rd year, High River, Alta., Bachelor of Business Administration) made it 2-0 when he cleaned up a rebound with just 14 seconds left in the opening period.
SAIT wasted little time adding to their lead in the second when LaClare scored his second of the contest just 43 seconds into the middle frame to extend his team's lead to 3-0.
Red Deer came to life after that goal, and started to create some chances of their own. Untimely penalties by the Trojans gave the Kings momentum, and they would use that to cut the lead to 3-1 with eight minutes left in the second when Ryley Smith scored on the power play.
Leading 3-1 after two periods, SAIT again scored quickly to start the final period as Colton McCarthy (3rd year, Salmon Arm, BC, Geographic Information Systems) waited just 19 seconds before scoring to give his team back a three-goal lead.
Again, repeated trips to the penalty box cost the Trojans, as the Kings scored two of their next three goals with the man advantage to tie the game at 4-4. Credited with those markers, in order, were Ross Heidt, Tanner Butler and Austin Hunter.
"It doesn't matter what way, shape or form, we need to find a way to stay composed," Devost stated. "If we're not, it's going to be hard to come out on the right side of games like this like we were fortunate enough to do tonight."
Tied after regulation, the teams went to five minutes of four-on-four play.
During that time, SAIT's Eric Krienke (2nd year, Calgary, Bachelor of Business Administration) took a slashing penalty, and on following penalty kill, Trojans goalie Payton Lee (2nd year, Cranbrook, BC, Power and Process Operations) had puck after puck fired at him from point blank range. Each of them he turned aside to keep the game going.
He finished the game with 41 saves.
"Payton Lee was unbelievable," Devost said. "I typically don't like to single out guys because it's a team effort, but he came up huge for us."
When that first overtime period solved nothing, the teams went down to five minutes of three-on-three.
It wasn't long in the final frame before Erik Pedersen (3rd year, Airdrie, Alta., Business Administration) started the sequence that would end the game.
First, he took advantage of a bad change by the Kings and blazed through their defence. While he could not beat Trombley on the breakaway, he drew a slashing penalty from Red Deer's Tyrell Mappin.
On the ensuing power play, he ended the game on a bad angle when he took a pass from Dean Allison (4th year, Surrey, BC, Bachelor of Business Administration) and one-timed it between Trombley and the near post to send the Trojans crowd home happy.
"Pedey's gift is his speed, and when he uses it effectively, it's hard to catch him and that's what happened when he drew the penalty," said Devost. "And then he finished it off by burying that winner."
Allison finished the game with four assists, while McCarthy and LaClare each recorded three-point nights.
SAIT finishes off their first semester of play next weekend with a home-and-home set against the University of Alberta-Augustana Vikings – Friday in Camrose, Alta., Saturday night at home.