Time robs Titans of opening game of playoffs

titans goalie Jordan Brands blocks a shot during Saturday night's playoff game. The Titans were defeated 8-6. - Stephen Dafoe Photo

By Stephen Dafoe

Morinville – A sluggish Morinville Titans took to the ice Saturday night in the first of a best-of-three series against the Edmonton Ice. Having finished in fourth spot at the end of the regular season, the Titans got a first round bye, a situation that left the club a little rusty after two weeks of no competition and minimal practice.

The club finished the first period of Saturday night’s game tied 2-2 with the Ice, but seemed to have difficulties in the middle frame keeping pace with the fast-skating, hard-hitting Ice. Multiple turnovers and a difficulty keeping the puck on the tape lead to the Ice building themselves a five-goal lead by the end of the frame.

Although the Titans lacked in effort during the second period, they more than made up for in the final frame, rallying from a 7-2 deficit at the end of the period to bring the contest to 7-6 with 6:04 seconds left on the clock.

But that’s when time was taken from talent and the Titans found themselves left with just two minutes to ripple the Ice’s mesh, driving the contest into overtime. Noralta Junior Hockey League rules require games to be concluded in no more than two hours and fifteen minutes, a situation developed largely by city clubs where ice time is more rigid than in rural rinks.
Despite heated protests from Titans’ coaching staff, the rule was upheld and four minutes of game play were removed from the clock, leaving the titans two minutes to ripple Edmonton’s mesh.

Frustrated and angry, the Titans took to the ice, but were unable to make it happen. As the clock ticked away, the Ice pocketed another goal, bringing the contest to 8-6 in their favour. The Titans pulled their backstop in the final minute to gain a man, but were unable to force a tie.

The Titans will get an opportunity to bring the series to a tie Tuesday night. Game two is set for 8:15 p.m. at the Ray McDonald Sports Centre.

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