Red Deer Rustlers forward Landon Kletke fights off a check from a pair of Devon Barons players in a Jan. 4 game earlier this season. (Photo by DENNIS BERG/Red Deer Rustlers)

Red Deer Rustlers and Lacombe Senior AA Generals both win Senior AA Hockey playoff openers

The North Central Senior AA Hockey League playoffs kicked off with a bang on the weekend.

The Red Deer Rustlers got off to a strong start, picking up a 4-0 win over the Devon Barons on home ice. They lead the best-of-five series 1-0. Mike Salmon earned the 34-save shutout and Rylan Pante-Crough notched a hat trick in the victory. Former Red Deer Rebel Colton Bobyk had a goal and both Dylan Houston and Landon Kletke each had three assists.

Red Deer heads to Devon to take on the Barons on Jan. 31 for game 2.

The Lacombe Senior AA Generals also picked up a win to start its series with the Daysland Northstars.

Jared Williams got the Generals on the board first early in the second period, before Scott Doucet made it 2-0 on the power play. Ryley Bennefield cut the deficit shorthanded late in the period, but that’s as close as the Northstars got.

Lacombe netminder Travis Yonkman was stellar in the contest with 41 saves.

The Blackfalds Wranglers suffered a tough 3-2 overtime loss in its playoff opener with the Fort Saskatchewan Chiefs.

The Chiefs opened the scoring in the first before the Wranglers tied the game with one second left in the second period.

They took a brief 2-1 lead 1:12 into the third, but the Chiefs tied the game at two on the power play with 13:30 to go.

Just 1:11 into overtime, Brandon Dubuc scored for Fort Saskatchewan to clinch the victory.

Adam Gingras made 42 saves in the loss for Blackfalds, while Barrett Kindred made 30 in the win for the Chiefs.

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