With a series clinching win Tuesday night in Swan River, the Blues advanced to take on the Steinbach Pistons in the next round of the MJHL playoffs.
But before the Blues could reach that deciding game in Swan River, they had to take care of business Sunday night at home. In the first, it was Mitch Hansen, 2:43 in, opening the scoring on the powerplay. The second saw the Stampeders draw even early on. Another powerplay opportunity for the Blues was rewarded with 5:14 to go when Brett Brooks buried his second of the playoffs to make it 2-1. That lead was shortlived as Swan Valley tied it up again a minute and a half later. The Blues led 3-2 after two periods on Mack Heisinger’s goal in the final minute. Down one entering the third, the Stampeders tied it up once again, this time 30 seconds in, to make it three all. Not to be discouraged, the Blues again gained the lead, this time on Taeron Lewis’ goal 12:37 in. Late in the third, Swan Valley pulled their goaltender for the extra attacker. But it was Mitch Hansen’s second of the game into the empty net that sealed the victory for the Blues and a 3-0 series lead.
Tuesday night in Swan River, the Blues came out flying and with Kamerin Nault’s goal only 56 seconds in, the Blues held an early lead. Inserted back into the lineup due to injuries, Reid Stefanson made the most of it doubling the lead to 2-0 with 3:42 left in the first. The Stampeders drew to within one in the final minute. However, there was still enough time left for Brooks to regain the two goal lead before the period ended as he notched his 3rd of the playoffs 16 seconds later. Just like the first period, the Blues scored early as once again Nault was able to beat the Swan tender, this time shorthanded, to make it 4-1. On the man advantage later, Scott Rowswell scored his first of the post season to extend the Blues lead. The Stampeders countered with a shorthanded goal of their own a minute and a half later before Liam Bilton’s powerplay goal with 6:47 left kept it to a four goal lead. With five minutes left, Swan Valley would again cut into the Blues lead, leaving it at 6-3 with a period to play. In the third, the Stampeders pushed for more but Blues goaltender Scott Parsons stopped all 13 shots he faced. Swan Valley once again pulled their goaltender early but to no avail as Brooks’ empty netter with 2:21 left sealed the series for the Blues, making it a 7-3 final.
Game notes: Making their first post-season appearances, defenceman Ryan Mutch and forward Alex Halstensgard didn’t look like they missed a beat in Swan River. The Blues Boston Pizza player of the game from Sunday was Brett Brooks while the OMG Blues hardest working player was Geordie Keane. Stay tuned for the second round playoff schedule against the Steinbach Pistons!