EDMONTON, ALTA. - Tanner Dunkle's two goals pushed the NAIT Ooks past the SAIT Trojans 2-1 in game one of the ACAC Men's Hockey Semifinals on Friday night in the NAIT Arena.
Both teams came out ready to play in this one as they spent the first ten minutes of the game exchanging chances, with the most quality chance coming when John Flatters got a breakaway on the penalty kill which was turned away by Ooks' goalie Jensen. The first goal would come at the 11:20 mark of the first period when Thomas Foster beat the SAIT defense to puck in the offensive end. He then sent a beautiful spinning pass to a wide-open Tanner Dunkle back door for the tap in go-ahead goal. SAIT responded four minutes later when Colton McCarthy squeaked a puck through Brendan Jensen to tie the game at one through twenty minutes.
The second-period things would get chippy as there would be 24 minutes in penalties handed out between the two teams. Twelve of those minutes coming when John Flatters received a ten-minute misconduct for a vicious cross-check to the head of NAIT's Thomas Foster who was forced to leave the game with a concussion. There would be one lone goal in the period, as Isaac Farrah threw a puck on net which would deflect off of Tanner Dunkle's skate and past Peyton Lee for his second goal of the game, giving his team a 2-1 lead heading into the third period.
"We told the boys to stay composed. I thought we lost our head at times. We had a few tough plays go against us and the boys got a little emotional. I just told them to play our game," said Ooks' head coach Tim Fragle following the second period.
The extracurriculars after the whistles would continue between the polytechnic rivals in the third period as a parade to the box would continue. Both teams had several chances both on the powerplay and at even strength, but the two goalies stood tall not letting anything past them. The Trojans would pull the goalie with a little under two minutes to play but were unable to solve Brendan Jensen as the Ooks would take game one 2-1.
"Tomorrow we will need a big start. They play well at home, we just need to play our game," said Fragle following the game.
No surprise in this one that both goalies received player of the game honours with Peyton Lee recording 31 saves and Brendan Jensen making 41 saves for the win.
"I think our game went really well, I had a few more shots because they have a pretty good powerplay, but the guys blocked a lot of shots which is always a big help. Overall I think we played pretty good," said Brendan Jensen following the win.
The Ooks will now head down to SAIT for a 7:00 pm game tomorrow, where they will look to close out the best of three series and advance to the ACAC Championship series.