Eagles 5 Panthers 1
The Innisfail Eagles did just enough to stay alive.
After a pair of losses in round robin play, Innisfail knocked off the Haut-Madawaska Panthers 5-1 in the 2019 Allan Cup quarterfinal to advance to the semis. Their first ever Allan Cup victory booked them a date with the Stoney Creek Generals at 4 p.m. Friday afternoon.
It was the Eagles’ power play that helped them soar to the win Thursday, scoring twice on three chances on the night.
“We talked before the game, we played really well the first two games and we didn’t get rewarded,” said Eagles head coach Brian Sutter.
“We didn’t score on the power play. We went over some things and when you talk about winning or doing anything well in life, you can’t say you’re just going to do it… That’s what we went through the first game and part of the last game. We got rewarded once or twice (Thursday).”
Their usual gritty, hard-nosed style also kept the Panthers at bay for much of the final 30 minutes and was another key to the win.
“We knew we had to come out hard. We had to come out physical,” said Eagles forward Darren Reid, who had two goals in the win.
“It was a three-in-three, so we knew we had to play physical to wear them down, eventually, it will slow them down… In the last five minutes, they just lost their momentum.”
Midway through the first, It was Reid who broke the deadlock with a tipped point shot by Alex Curran. It was the only goal of the opening frame.
The Panthers battled back halfway through the second when Andrew Randazzo deflected in a pass from Peter Trainor on an odd-man rush.
Penalty trouble hurt Haut-Madawaska in the rest of the period, as the Eagles found the mark with a pair of power play tallies.
First Reid tipped home a Colton Hayes points shot, for his second of the night.
“I’ve been waiting for one since game one. So I just thought I better start playing physical and open up space for my linemates. Eventually, it started working and opened up some room, then I started shooting the puck,” Reid said.
Only 3:21 later, Caylan Walls scored a weird one. His point shot hit the end boards and bounced in front, where it hit the skate of Panthers goalie Adrien Lemay and bounced in.
Braden Crone scored late for Innisfail in the third and Justin Cox added an empty net goal.
It will be a tough test in the semis, as the Eagles look for revenge against the defending champion Stoney Creek Generals, who beat Innisfail earlier this week.
“We have to come out with a physical aspect. Take pucks to the net and drive to the net,” Reid added.
“When we played them the other day, we didn’t drive the net and some pucks came out that we could have put in and it would have been a different outcome. We played hard. We outshot them.”