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Blackfalds Bulldogs to face Crusaders in BCHL playoffs

Bulldogs win regular-season finale
The Blackfalds Bulldogs took on the Spruce Grove Saints in BCHL Junior A action on Saturday night in the regular season finale at the Eagle Builders Centre. (Photo by Ian Gustafson/ Advocate staff)

Bulldogs 4

Saints 2

In the regular season finale of the British Columbia Hockey League season (BCHL), the Blackfalds Bulldogs took care of business.

On Saturday night at the Eagle Builders Centre, the Bulldogs took down the visiting Spruce Grove Saints 4-2 in their final game before the playoffs.

The Saints took the lead in the first period off a shot by Alexander Babich, who beat Bulldogs goaltender Wilson Maxfield.

However, the Bulldogs responded with back-to-back goals in the second period from Carter Cormier and Jayden Joly. Cormier’s tally came just 3:28 into the frame and Joly notched his just over three minutes later.

The Saints found the 2-2 equalizer later in the middle period scored by Jed Magarrell off the pass from Evan Sundar.

Early in the third period, Brendan Ross reclaimed the lead for the Bulldogs and they never gave it up again. The 20-year-old forward added one more on the powerplay later in the period to seal the 4-2 victory at home.

“The last few weeks I thought that we’ve upped our game and started playing a lot more consistently,” said Bulldogs head coach Doug Quinn.

“We’ve played better defensively and had better goaltending. There’s no easy games and I was happy with how we took another step.”

As the league previously announced, all five Alberta teams will make the postseason.

However, the fourth and fifth-seeded Okotoks Oilers and Spruce Grove Saints will first face off in a best-of-five wildcard series from April 10-16 to see who will join the top three teams in the semi-finals.

Following the wildcard matchup, all playoff matchups including the semifinals and finals will be best of seven.

The winner of that series will take on the top-seeded Brooks Bandits in the BCHL Alberta Division semifinals series from April 19 to May 1.

The third-seeded Bulldogs will also face the second-seeded Sherwood Park Crusaders in the other semi-final series at the same time.

Games 1 and 2 will be played in Sherwood Park on April 19 and 20. Games 3 and 4 will shift to Blackfalds on Tuesday, April 23 and Wednesday, April 24 at 7 p.m.

If needed, Game 5 will return to Sherwood Park on Friday, April 26 and Game 6 in Blackfalds on Sunday, April 28.

If the series goes the distance, Game 7 will be played in Sherwood Park on Tuesday, April 30.

“Sherwood Park is a very strong team, highly skilled, and very fast. We’ve had some decent success against them. If we come in and play the way we have here it’s going to be a battle. I think we always have a chance,” Quinn said.

“You want to be peaking as you go into the playoffs, and coming into this weekend, we needed to get at least one point to get third, and we found a way to win two games.”

The BCHL announced following the playoffs there will be an additional series between the two champions called the Rocky Mountain Challenge Postseason Series. The champion of the Alberta teams will face off in a best-of-three series against the B.C. champion from May 31 to June 2.

The Bulldogs will now have nearly two weeks off before their first playoff game on April 19. However, Quinn said it’s a much-needed rest as the Bulldogs will look to get their team fully healthy.

“We played 68 games in a short time frame and we’re a little bit banged up,” he said.

“We need to get healthy and we have some reinforcements some younger guys coming in who will be given an opportunity over the next two weeks to see if they can make our team better. We’re looking forward to it.”

The Blackfalds Bulldogs took on the Spruce Grove Saints in BCHL Junior A action on Saturday night in the regular season finale 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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