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Voyageurs drop first of two to SAIT, playoff hopes over

Playoff hopes dropped as SAIT takes first game in last weekend of regular season

Oompfh — The first of two away games for the Voyageurs in a must-win final weekend of league play didn't end well. The Portage squad was rolled 9-2 by the SAIT Trojans in Friday night's match-up.

The loss puts any chances of the Voyageurs sneaking into the sixth place spot of the ACAC league — the last spot for a chance at playoffs — out of reach.

The Trojans blasted 53 shots into the Portage netminding duo of Jacob Gnidziejko and Luke Hall over the course of the game. With 43 shots on net and the team down 7-1 after two periods Gnidziejko was replaced by Hall for the last 20 minutes of the game.

In front of both goaltenders, the team wasn't generating much on the offensive front, notching just  26 shots on the relatively unchallenged Trojan netminder. The game had its share of penalties, with the Voyageurs racking up 58 minutes on 17 trips to the sin bin and the Trojans losing 44 minutes on 17 penalties.

Top scorer

Brayden Dale scored the first of the two Voyageur goals at the midway point of the first period. The goal was his sixth of the season, putting him in tie for the fourth place overall scoring leader in the ACAC this season.  The Voyageurs second goal was scored by Logan Spence on a powerplay effort at the midpoint of the final period.

The final game of the regular season for the Voyageurs is on Saturday. The SAIT rematch starts at 3 pm at the Trojans arena in Calgary.


Original article —

LAC LA BICHE - The Portage College Voyageurs had a better-than-average week as they go into their last two hockey games of the regular season this weekend.

The team had its first regulation-time win last Friday in a decisive 7-4 victory over the visiting Concordia University Thunder, and they have managed to score the first goal in each of their last four outings.  

The team is going to need to continue that momentum as they face-off with the SAIT Trojans this weekend for two away games, with the first on Friday starting at 7. 

SAIT is currently in fourth place in the ACAC division, winning six of their 14 games so far in regular season play, securing them a place in the league playdowns that begin next week. Only the top six teams in the seven-team division will go to playoffs. Portage, with only two wins (one an overtime victory over Briercrest)  is currently in seventh place, four points behind sixth place Briercrest. 

Two wins over SAIT this weekend for the Voyageurs and two losses for Briercrest in their games against the league-leading NAIT Ooks, and the Voyageurs could clinch the last playoff spot. 

Team coach Kevin McClelland has seen improvements in his team over the last games. He’s also seen more of his team in general. 

"We've had four or five of our best guys out and we had some guys with COVID, so when you take key guys out of your lineup it's always difficult, especially in a league of this calibre,” he said, following last Friday’s win over Concordia on the team’s post-game online game summary.  “But tonight was the night we had everybody that we wanted in the lineup.” 

Rematch and midweek losses 

Riding high on their win, the Voyageurs were up by two goals on the Thunder in the first period of the following night’s rematch. But that’s where they stayed as the Thunder scored three unanswered responses to win 3-2, splitting the weekend and halting the Voyageurs’ win streak at one. 

In a rare mid-week rematch this past Tuesday, the Voyageurs again scored first, but couldn’t keep the lead, losing to the Augustana University Vikings 5-3 at the Encana Arena in Camrose. 

The win for Augustana nudged them into fifth place overall with 10 points on the season. 

Check the Lac La Biche POST facebook page and for updates on the regular season final games. 

The ACAC playoff first round begins on March 4 where the sixth place teams faces off in a best of three series against the leagues’ third place team, which going into the weekend of final regular season games, was Red Deer Polytechnic. 

About the Author: Rahma Dalmar

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