Vikings will face Ooks in ACAC Championship Series
Posted on March 17, 2016 by Jadene Mah
The Vikings are playing for gold, and will face the undefeated NAIT Ooks in the Alberta Colleges Athletic Conference Championship, best of three series.
By Earl Thompson
Game 1: Friday, March 18 @ 7:00 pm at NAIT
Game 2: Saturday, March 19 @ 5:00 pm at EnCana Arena, Camrose
Game 3: Sunday, March 20 @ 6:30 pm at NAIT (if necessary)
The Augustana Vikings entered the semi-final round of the ACAC playoffs during last weekend with home ice advantage against the Keyano College Huskies. The Huskies had won 3 of 4 head-to-head battles during the regular season, so the Vikings knew they could not take this series lightly.
In Game 1, the Vikings came out flying and were all over the visitors, but trailed 2-1 after the first period. Three second period goals in a dominating period put the Vikes on their way to a 4-2 win and a 1-0 series lead. Alex Rodgers led the way for the Vikings scoring twice, earning the Player of the Game award.
Game 2 saw a similar start, with the Vikings hemming the Huskies in their own end for the first 3 minutes of the game. A break-down led to a 3-on-2 break the other way, and on their first shot of the game, Keyano took a 1-0 lead. The Huskies would go on to score two more in the period, and took a huge 3-0 lead in to the dressing room. Andy Williams, following the third Huskies goal would replace starting goalie, Harry Fredeman. The Vikes continued to dominate territorially in the 2nd period, but could not solve goaltender Jamie Tucker. Finally, at 5:21 of the third period, the Vikings got on the board. A power play goal at 18:57 brought the crowd to its feet, but the Huskies would hold on for a 3-2 win and deadlock the series at a game apiece. Connor McLaughlin scored both Vikings goals in the losing effort, earning him the Player of the Game award.
Sunday’s Game 3 matinee winner-take-all game was just more of the same hard hitting take no prisoners affair, but once again the Huskies took advantage of a Vikings miscue and opened the scoring just 2:34 into the contest. The Vikings responded four minutes later to tie it, adding a go-ahead goal at 13:14 by Connor McLaughlin. After a scoreless second period, the Vikings came out hard in the third and were rewarded at the 1:14 mark as Jeff Lorenz got Augustana’s third goal of the game. Beau Taylor made it 4-2 later in the period and the Vikes hung on for a 4-3 win giving them a hard-earned series win.
Head Coach Blaine Gusdal noted how tough the series was adding, “We needed that to build our confidence. We can play better.” Assistant Coach David Ritz added, “We haven’t peaked yet.” The Vikings will need to be at their peak as they now face the unbeaten NAIT Ooks (34-0) for the ACAC Championship this weekend. Games go Friday, March 18, at 7:00 pm at NAIT Arena in Edmonton; Saturday, March 19 at 5:00 pm at the EnCana Arena; and Game 3, if necessary, will be back at the NAIT Arena on Sunday, March 20 at 6:30 pm.
The two teams will meet in the finals for only the third time in Alberta Colleges Athletic Conference history, and the first time since that memorable 2011-12 season when the Augustana Vikings won it all.
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