Two teams both stuck in ties in their current position, the Bienfait Coalers and the Carnduff Red Devils, squared off on the ice in Carnduff Tuesday night.
The Red Devils entered their second to last game locked in a tie with Redvers and Carlyle for second in the league, all at 22 points, but they could clinch at least a third place finish with a win since Carlyle only has a single game left, and even if Carlyle did win, a tie with Carnduff would go to the Red Devils. Redvers still has three games, so they could still win out to beat Carnduff.
Bienfait came into the game with 18 points, good for a tie for fifth place with the Midale Mustangs, and behind the pile up at 22 points. Midale only had two games left whereas Bienfait was entering their third to last, and the two teams play each other only two nights later, meaning a win over Carnduff would work wonders for the Coalers.
The first period would start off with back and forth action from both teams, chances at either end, until just over ten minutes in. Carnduff would get a powerplay chance and only seconds after the Coalers came back to full strength, Devon Carriere would get a pass from behind the net from Nico Anderson and slap the puck passed goaltender Jackson Walliser for the game's first goal.
Almost thirty seconds later, Wyatt Garagan would take the puck down the left side of the ice and make a move around one defender before passing the puck behind the goalline for Keagan Malaryk. Malaryk would make a move out front and take the initial shot, but Dylan Herzberg would clean up the rebound and tie it up.
Carnduff would take their one goal lead back a few minutes later, again from Devon Carriere's stick. Kody Martin would fire a shot from the point that would get tipped off a stick, hit the post, and Carriere would follow the puck and turn around, smacking it off the post mid air to slap it passed Walliser for the 2-1 lead.
After the first: 2-1 Carnduff
The second period would end similar to the first, only flipped around. Dylan Herzberg would come down the left side of the ice for the Coalers and fire a shot at the net, right over the blue line and placed perfectly between the cross bar and the blocker of Cody Dumaine, tying the game up with only one second left on the powerplay, tying the game up again.
Again, the home team would take a one goal lead however, and again thanks to Devon Carriere. For the hat trick, Carriere would get again stand in front of the net, and Anderson would blast a slap shot that Carriere expertly tipped it in for the lead once more.
Not to be outdone, Dylan Herzberg would score his third straight for the game when a scrambled play in front would result in him cleaning up another rebound to tie the game up and his point total with Carriere.
After the second: 3-3
In the third, the game would continue to stay just as tight as it did in the first two, but again the Red Devils would take the lead. Tired with his two assists, Nico Anderson would get on the board when he broke in on the right side of the blue line, winding up a slapshot to draw the defender, then put his stick back down and move around the defender. Now much closer to the net, right in the slot, Anderson's wrist shot went right over the shoulder of Jackson Walliser.
And just like the first two frames, Bienfait would come right back. Keegan Malaryk would find the puck in front of the net after a shot came from the point, and he'd hack away at the rebound to tie the game at four.
The Red Devils would finally get a chance to pull away this time around, thanks in part to Anderson once again. He would complete his hat trick after clean shot from the point that went right through the five hole.
After that, Carnduff would start to cycle the puck around the offensive zone before Blake McMillen would get the puck at the centre of the blue line and rip it cleanly through traffic and into the back of the net, meaning the Red Devils would pull away by two for the first time in the game.
All of this scoring happened before the half for both teams, and they'd add one more to the board, another wrist shot that blew passed Cody Dumaine off the stick of Keegan Malaryk to bring the game back to within one.
A few penalties later, the Coalers would be forced to pull Walliser from the net and while they would keep up the pressure, the Red Devils would score twice on the empty net, the first completing Anderson's hat trick, and another from Trevor Geiger.
FINAL SCORE: Carnduff 8 - 5 Bienfait
The win secures at least third place for the Carnduff Red Devils. They play two more games, while the team that can still beat them out, the Redvers Rockets, still have three games to get back ahead of the Red Devils. Neither team has an overtime loss, it's either been a win or loss in regulation. In the two meetings between the teams in the regular season, Redvers won at home 7-5, whereas Carnduff won the rematch 7-3, giving Carnduff the advantage.
Bienfait loses their game advantage over Midale, but the two teams play each other only two nights later. After that, Bienfait plays Kipling/Windthorst, and Midale battles Redvers.