Pressure on for Morinville Jets

Jets backstop Rob Carter makes a save during the third period. Despite outshooting Fort Saskatchewan 25-24, the Jets were defeated by the Hawks 4-1. – Stephen Dafoe Photo

By Stephen Dafoe

Morinville – Sunday afternoon’s 4-1 loss to the Fort Saskatchewan Pyramid Hawks (14-14-5) put even greater pressure on the Morinville Jets (15-13-5) to rack up some points in their remaining four contests if they are to have home-ice advantage in the qualifying round of playoffs.

Morinville Jets Alternate Captain Aaron Baumgartner and Fort Saskatchewan Pyramid Hawk Justin Middleton look for a loose puck in Morinville’s zone during the final frame. – Stephen Dafoe Photo
Head Coach Scott Rodda said Sunday the Jets will need to win three if not all of their remaining four games to achieve that goal.

“It was a disappointing loss,” Rodda said. “We needed to have that game. We’re fighting for a good spot in the standings for playoffs and that one got away from us. I’m disappointed but so are the guys.”

With three of the clubs remaining four contests against teams currently positioned close to or below the Jets in the CJHL standings, the team could pick up another six points before the season ends so long as they maintain better focus and discipline than they managed Sunday afternoon.

“We didn’t play a great game,” Rodda said of Sunday’s effort. “We had some breakdowns and some undisciplined penalties. Their goaltender made some great saves when he needed to.”

Jet Josh Lafleche is escorted off the ice after taking a penalty for a hit to the head. His opponent lies on the ice behind him. – Stephen Dafoe Photo

Despite being outskated and outperformed during the opening frame, the first period ended 1-0 for the Jets. After giving and denying the Hakes three powerplay advantages, Nick Pratt opened scoring for the Jets with 51.8 seconds left in the period during the Jets first powerplay advantage.

The Jets ended the second period scoreless. Neither of the Jets second period powerplay opportunities yielded a return for the Jets. The clubs best opportunity to score came on a breakaway by Aaron Baumgartner during a Hawks’ powerplay. The shot was denied by a glove deflection from Hawks’ backstop Tyson Shaw. The Hawks earned three goals during the period to end the frame 3-1 in their favour.

The third period saw Jets goalie Mike Saunders pulled in favour of Rob Carter. Although Carter denied the Hawks any goals during his time between the pipes, the Hawks scored their fourth on an empty net after Carter was pulled to give the Jets an extra man on the ice.

Rodda said he anticipates the club will rebound Wednesday night when they travel to Edmonton to take on the 16-14-2 Strathcona Bruins.

The Jets next home game is Sunday afternoon against the 17-14-1 St. Albert Merchants. Game time is 2 p.m. at the Ray McDonald Sports Centre.

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