Red Deer Senior Rustlers forward Andrew McArthur carries the puck around the Sylvan Lake Pirates net in the first period of the opening game of round one of the North Central Hockey League Senior AA Playoffs at the Gary W. Harris Canada Games Centre. (Photo by BYRON HACKETT/Advocate Staff)

Red Deer Senior Rustlers knock off Sylvan Lake Pirates in inaugural playoff game

The Red Deer Rustlers are a leg up in the North Central Hockey League Senior AA playoffs.

In the opening game of round one, Red Deer earned a 3-1 win in their inaugural playoff appearance. They knocked off the Sylvan Lake Pirates, who were also in their first ever playoff game.

“It’s playoff hockey, most of these guys have played some playoff hockey, but some haven’t played it in a few years. It’s exciting. It’s great,” said Rustlers head coach Scott Odegard.

“Two teams that win, get to go to provincials. It’s exciting for this league for sure.”

On the big ice at the Gary W. Harris Canada Games Centre in the game 1 of the best-of-five series, it was the Rustlers with a few extra bodies that eventually found the advantage.

“There was a lot of intensity. We did really well and Red Deer is a really great team. The boys plugged away and did the best they could,” said Pirates coach Scott Barnes, who added it was tough in the latter half of the contest with only 12 players.

We have to get more bodies… we just got a bit tired half way through the second period it was 1-1, we just didn’t have enough gas left.”

With the game tied 1-1 midway through the second, Dustin Moore light the lamp on the power play for the Rustlers. Ty Berkholtz added another late in the frame and that was all the home side needed to earn the victory.

“We compete. If you don’t compete you don’t have fun and that’s the bottom line here,” added Odegard.

Pirates goalie Cody Nicolay was second star, stopping over a half-century of shots in the contest.

Email sports tips to Byron Hackett

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