By Stephen Dafoe
Morinville – Despite racking up 13 per cent of their season penalty total in just one game, the Morinville Jets went on to defeat the St. Albert Merchants 7-3 Sunday afternoon, giving the Jets another two points on the road to playoffs.
Sunday’s contest saw the Jets accumulating 38 infractions for a total of 166 minutes of penalty time while the equally-aggressive Merchants racked up 34 infractions for 135 minutes of penalties.
Although both clubs had plenty of powerplay chances during the opening frame, neither side was able to score, leaving the two rivals tied 0-0 at the end of the first period.
The second period saw both sides rein in their penalty time to a small degree, but powerplay goals were scored on both sides of the ice. Josh Lafleche opened scoring for the Jets less than a minute into the period on the powerplay. Although the goal was answered by the Merchants five minutes later, Jorey McRae picked up the Jets second, a shorthanded goal with 8:37 left in the period. Both Lafleche and McRae went on to pocket another goal each during the frame to give the Jets a 4-2 lead heading into the third.
Penalties continued to plague both teams during the third, but the Jets derived a greater benefit from their powerplay opportunities. After Nick Pratt pocketed a shorthanded goal 20 seconds into the period, the team’s remaining two goals were both scored on the powerplay, including Jorey McRae’s third goal with 5:25 left in the game.
Sundays win brought the Jets’ record to 17-14-5 and placed them in third spot in the CJHL’s West Division, one point ahead of the Spruce Grove Regals and five points behind the North Edmonton Red Wings.
The Jets have two games left in the regular season. They travel to Wetaskiwin Friday night to take on the 15-17-4 Icemen. The Jets then return to home ice Sunday to take on the 26-8-0 Beaumont Chiefs, currently the top-ranked team in the CJHL.