Bisons one win away from AMHL Championship final
Monday, Mar 20, 2017 06:00 am
The CFR Chemical Bisons are just one win away from returning to the Alberta Midget AAA Hockey League (AMHL) finals for the third time in as many years.
In a tightly contested Chrysler Division Final, the Bisons hold a 2-1 lead in the best-of-five series over the Calgary Buffaloes. Head coach Sandy Henry knows the series is far from over, with a potential of two more games left against the top-seeded Buffaloes.
“We’re such close teams that are similar in what we’ll do,” Henry said. “It’s been a really good, competitive series.”
This series has been a retribution mission for the Bisons, as the team looked for its first win over the Buffaloes all season after dropping its two regular season games.
The series started in similar fashion to how the season series went against the Buffaloes with the Bisons dropping Game 1 by a score of 2-1 on the road.
The Buffaloes jumped out to an early two-goal lead in the first period, putting the Bisons backs against the wall early on March 10.
Cole Clayton managed to get the Bisons within one goal with a little more than six minutes left in the second frame, but that would be as close as the Bisons would get in the series-opener.
The Bisons returned home to Strathmore on March 12. The tension was high in that game as neither team scored through the first 40 minutes.
It wasn’t until there was a little less than seven minutes left in the third period when Peyton Krebs potted his first goal of the playoffs to give his team the lead and the eventual win on home ice, knotting the series at one game apiece.
“Both teams have shown a defensive side that wasn’t quite as expressed in the regular season,” Henry said. “We both understand you can’t score six goals every night or let in four or five and expect to win in the playoffs.”
Game 3 was back in Calgary on March 14 and like Game 1, the Buffaloes took an early lead, opening the scoring less than four minutes into the first period.
In the middle frame, the Bisons had an early goal waved off, but that adversity didn’t deter the team in its pursuit of a victory on the road.
The Bisons’ efforts were rewarded in the dying seconds of the period when Airdrie’s Cayde Augustine found the back of the net, tying the game 1-1 heading into the final stanza.
“(Augustine’s goal) gave us a boost going into the third knowing that the game was going to be close,” Henry said. “We didn’t have to play from behind the rest of the way.”
Jackson Salt scored the Bisons’ second goal of the night but the Buffaloes came right back four minutes later to tie the game up once again and force overtime.
It wasn’t until the second overtime period, where an unlikely goal scorer emerged as the hero when Tyson Terretta waited out a sliding shotblocker and fired the puck on target to break the tie and give the Bisons the 3-2 victory.
“His goal total shows that scoring isn’t a regular thing for him, but he made a big-league play to score,” Henry said. “It was a really heads-up goal by him, he did a great job finishing (the game).”
Now up 2-1 in the series and heading back to the confines of home, the Bisons have a level of confidence against the Buffaloes after winning two straight games against its rivals.
“We have a feeling that we can beat them for sure,” Henry said. “There is some confidence, but I don’t think any of our guys feel like we own them.
“The games have been so close that it comes down to bounces here and there that result in the wins.”
Game 4 went back to Strathmore on March 16 and if Game 5 was necessary it happened on March 18, back in Calgary (after press time).