Knights winning streak snapped as team falls to Slash
Another slow start and a lacklustre second period proved to be the Achilles heel for the Airdrie Knights, as it led to their first loss of the season. The team fell 13-7 to the Spruce Grove Slash, May 26.
“It was a very slow start,” said Knights Head Coach Gareth Barley. “It started in warm-up. The guys weren’t ready to go. We didn’t play our game on defence. We really let our goalie down and did things that were unacceptable for the Knights.”
The Slash jumped out to an early 2-0 lead within the first three minutes of the game, before Derek Tom scored to get the Knights on the board. After the Slash took a two-goal lead, Casey MacIntyer recorded a powerplay marker to tie the game, and Rob McGowean and Dean Casey both scored to give the Knights a 5-3 lead heading into the second period.
The Slash dominated the rest of the game, scoring seven unanswered goals in the second period while only allowing one after the Knights’ Austin Nieudrop added his first goal of the season. Adam Labarbera scored in the third period, but the Slash answered with three goals for a 13-7 final score.
Barley pulled goaltender Alex Coutts with 1:36 left in the second period after the Slash scored their 10th goal of the game. Geoff Rainsford finished the game for the Knights, but the change didn’t have the effect on the team that Barley was hoping for.
“We were really hoping that it would spark them (offensively),” he said. “My intention was to get an extra time out and use it to talk to the guys. My decision not to put him back in was seeing that they really didn’t adjust to it at all. It didn’t affect the team positively, and they kept playing at the same tempo.”
With the Slash in their rearview mirror for the season, the Knights now play four games on the road, including three in four days. With two practices scheduled before the next game, Barley is hoping the break will set the team back on track.
“We’ll deal with our transition stuff, offensively and defensively,” he said. “Both ways were very weak, but the defining moment was that having a slow start four games in a row finally caught up to us.”