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Blackfalds Bulldogs swept out of BCHL playoffs

They fell at home 7-4 on Wednesday
The Blackfalds took on the Sherwood Park Crusaders on Wednesday night in Game 4 of the BCHL Alberta Division Semifinals at the Eagle Builders Centre. (Photo by Ian Gustafson/ Advocate staff)

Crusaders 7

Bulldogs 4

The Blackfalds Bulldogs season officially came to an end on Wednesday night.

The Sherwood Park Crusaders completed the sweep with a 7-4 win in Game 4 of the BCHL Alberta Division Semifinals.

Despite their season coming to a close, head coach Doug Quinn though his team gave their best effort of the series on Wednesday.

“Coming off the game last night it was pretty difficult but we challenged the kids. I’ve said throughout my coaching career whether we win or lose as long as we give an effort and compete then I’m good with that,” he said.

“Sometimes you can’t control the outcome… That fifth goal was a tough one because we were pushing hard but at the end of the day give credit to Sherwood Park. They’ve built a really strong team.

After getting blown out at home the night before, the Bulldogs made sure to get on the board early.

Just 28 seconds into the game, Bulldogs leading goalscorer Brendan Ross found the back of the net to take a 1-0 lead.

The Crusaders found the equalizer nearly 10 minutes later scored by Hunter Price off the feed from Noah Wills.

Sherwood Park capitalized on the powerplay with 2:09 left in the opening frame to take the lead off Price’s second goal of the game. He buried an opportunity in front of the net off a quick pass through the crease.

To begin the second period the Crusaders jumped out to a 4-1 lead after scoring two quick goals within the first four minutes of the frame.

Sherwood Park’s Connor Gengle scored at the 2:47 mark off a pass from Wills and 33 seconds later, Logan Hauer gave his team a three-goal lead.

However, the Bulldogs didn’t go away quietly.

Later in the period, Ross scored his second of the night when he knocked in a rebound off a shot from Jayden Joly.

Eight seconds later, Joly found himself on the scoresheet once again but this time as the goalscorer. The Bulldogs forward scored off a wrist shot from the slot that beat the goaltender in the top right corner.

The Bulldogs were just a goal away from tying the game at four but in the third period, the Crusaders extended their lead once again. Sherwood Park’s Hunter Price notched his second of the night 7:01 into the frame to lead 5-3.

The Crusaders added empty-net goals from Cole Assailly and Ethan Merner to seal the deal. Bulldogs Ryan Shaw also scored on the powerplay late in the frame but at that point, the game was out of reach.

With goaltender Wilson Maxfield out since Game 2 the Bulldogs turned to the youngster Gabe Gratton for the second straight game. He made 26 saves on 31 shots.

The Bulldogs will now prepare for next year where they’ll play their first full season in the BCHL. Quinn has been grateful the league gave them a place to play this season amid the midseason controversy with the Alberta Junior Hockey League.

He’s looking forward to next year and is optimistic about their new recruitment class coming in.

“There was a lot of adversity for our kids. It’s important you learn from every situation whether it’s good or bad. I saw some growth in our young guys and I’m excited for what we’re building here,” he added.

“We didn’t get to where we wanted to this year but we also recognize where we’re lacking and we’re going to make the improvements. Our ultimate goal is to be one of the best programs out there.”

Blackfalds Bulldogs defenceman Easton Adrian makes a move through the offensive zone against the Sherwood Park Crusaders on Wednesday night in Game 4 of the BCHL Alberta Division Semifinals at the Eagle Builders Centre. (Photo by Ian Gustafson/ Advocate staff)

Ian Gustafson

About the Author: Ian Gustafson

Ian began his journalism career as a reporter in Prince Albert, Sask. for the last three years, and was born and raised in Saskatchewan.
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