Strong start falls short against Red Deer

Posted: January 8, 2016

The talent and entertainment quality that is available via Briercrest athletics in unheralded Caronport, Saskatchewan is quite remarkable. A case could be made that the Clippers are the 2009 Chris Pratt of the ACAC- skillful, upstanding, and very underrated. Briercrest hosted the Red Deer Kings Friday night for the first of a two game weekend series.

The first period was fast paced from the drop of the puck. An icing call against the Kings led to an offensive zone possession for Briercrest, and Josh Peters cashed in as he took the puck off the ensuing draw and put it over the shoulder of Red Deer's Mike Salmon to open the scoring. Although the guests would tie it up less than a minute later, Briercrest kept creating chances. Josh Dufresne made a great pass to fellow fifth-year Taylor Epp, who filleted Salmon to restore the lead. Some strong forechecking by Josh Anderson drew a penalty minutes later that Red Deer managed to kill off. 

The visitors then struck on a powerplay of their own as Doug Jones equalized off a point shot that rebounded behind the net. Ben Feere made a good play to clear the blue line for Briercrest on another penalty kill at the end of the period, and the teams went into the intermission tied at two.

Bodies were flying throughout the second period. Dufresne crowned a couple of different Kings, and Micah Abbott took out an attacker and a linesman on the same hit. 

A defensive breakdown allowed two Red Deer forwards to break in alone and they buried the puck at 1:19 to take their first lead. Mark McKinnon set up Briercrest's response as he threaded a shot through that Alex Bechtold tipped home. A 70 foot jaw-dropper of a pass from Epp sprung Peters for another chance, but Salmon made the stop. Red Deer went up 4-3 shortly afterward, and it was only the heroic efforts of goaltender Christian Mueller and the penalty killers that prevented further damage as the guests were given a full two-minute five-on-three man advantage. 

Things were tight for much of the final period, despite an early goal by the Kings. Some controversy surrounded a goal that was allowed to stand midway through the frame as there appeared to be goaltender interference. The call stood and the score was 6-3 for the guests. Luke Syrenne forechecked hard to create a turnover and Mark Langford ripped a shot from the point, but the comeback wasn't to be and the game ended 7-3 Kings.

It was an unpleasant result, but much of the game was a feast for the eyes as both teams were creative and hard-working. It seems inevitable that word will get out and more people will discover the entertainment value available here. Players of the game were Taylor Epp for Briercrest and Jody Sick for Red Deer.

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