With back-to-back overtime heroics by
On March 2, they won a marathon 4-3 double-overtime thriller at home, forcing a decisive third playoff game two nights later in Camrose, Alta. against the University of Alberta-Augustana Vikings.
At 8:27 of the second overtime period of Game 2, Kreinke snapped a wrist shot past Vikings goalie Curtis Skip, on a simple play started off a faceoff win by Parker Evans-Campbell.
Kreinke would up the ante in Game 3, completing a hat trick with a power-play goal with 46 seconds remaining in the first overtime period.
But before this, the Trojans’ season hung by a thread, trailing 3-2 to begin the third period of Game 2.
Forward Colton McCarthy scored his second of the game, set up by Owen LaClare with seven minutes left in regulation play.
The tying goal came after a long stretch in which the Trojans could not seem to build
They took their second lead of the game, at 2-1, in the second period, only for the Vikings to tie it up just seven seconds later. Augustana then went up for the first time two minutes later.
In the third, with the season on the line, SAIT took over the game, outshooting the Vikings 15-5. They would end the game outshooting Augustana 50-33.
“Tonight, the effort was there, it was just tightening our game up,” said head coach Brent Devost.
He credited the team’s strong forecheck for the win.
“We’ve been a little too passive, giving them too much time, and [tonight] when the guys were more relentless, they were turning pucks over and getting more rubber to the net.”
Devost said that the team was not rattled between periods.
“I had a lot of confidence in the guys, so that was the message – continue to do what we were doing in the second, stay relentless, stick to the plan.”
To even get to overtime in Game 2, the Trojans had to rely on their penalty kill. They killed eight of nine penalties, including several in the third period and first overtime.
“The guys did a phenomenal job on the PK. We played a passionate game, took some penalties, but we beat them in the special-teams battle, we talked a lot about that, very proud of our penalty kill,” said Devost.
Captain Dean Allison also acknowledged the high number of penalties.
“It’s been a challenge for us all year,” Allison said. The Trojans ranked first in the ACAC in penalty minutes with 614.
Allison said that a key to winning the series in Camrose would be not repeating that poor start in Game 1, when they were outshot 20-9 in the first period.
“We’ve got to set the pace of the entire game,” he said.
“We’ve got to play some desperate hockey.”
With the series victory, the Trojans avenged their loss from last season, in which they also lost to Augustana in the quarter-finals.
The fifth-year Allison led the ACAC in points in his final season, but capping his career with a championship run is especially important. He noted that last season, he was unable to play in the playoffs due to a broken jaw.
“It’s been a season full of ups-and-downs for us.”
The Trojans will move on to play long-time rivals the NAIT Ooks, in a best-of-three series the weekend of March 15. SAIT will host Game 2 on March 16.
In the regular season, the Trojans went 1-3 against the Ooks, who finished in first place in the ACAC.
This story was originally written for SAIT Journalism’s online publication, The Press.