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Bears resume playoff run

The Jasper Atom Bears travelled to Fox Creek last Sunday to take on the Bulldogs in the first game of the home-and-away series in this second round of the playoffs.

Fox Creek finished first in the regular season, so while this game was going to be a big challenge for our hometown Bears, the Bulldogs would be looking for a 10-goal spread that would exempt them from game two.

All season long, the Bears have been challenged in the first period, often digging themselves a deep hole out of which they would have to climb in frames two and three. This game was no exception.

Despite heroic saves and a sharp glove hand from Jasper netminder, Kelan Polard, Jasper fell behind 4–0 by the time the first period buzzer had sounded.

Bears forward Dylan Dekker rang one off the post, and Connor Wright was pulling up trees at defence, but beyond this, Jasper looked the part of a team that had just disembarked from a four-hour bus trip.

The Bears picked it up somewhat in the second, but despite mounting pressure could not get by the Fox Creek defenders. At the other end of the ice, Fox Creek put in three more off the strength of some very fast, tough play from their team’s captain.

After two, the score was 7–0 for the Bulldogs, and it was looking very much like Fox Creek was going to push on for that 10-goal victory. But in the third, Jasper finally found its feet, if not its hands.

The defence led by Dana Angebrandt and Justin McIsaac kept the puck from the front of the net and Polard only let in one more on a spin-o-rama play that found the low corner.

With five minutes to play in the game, a defensive error by the Bulldogs gave Sebastian Golla a clear breakaway from centre ice and he made no mistake, beating the goaltender high stick side. Jasper was finally on the board, but this would be the only marker for the Bears, who were on their heels for most of the 60 minutes.

Perhaps it is good news for both teams that game two will happen. Our fans will get to see their Bears for one more game, and the Fox Creek families get a weekend in a mountain resort.

Jasper will host the Bulldogs this Saturday at 3:30 p.m.

See you at the rink.

John Wilmshurst
Special to the Fitzhugh

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