CARROT RIVER — After surviving a Survivor Series, the Carrot River Outback Thunder are looking to come back to upset the Saskatoon Quakers and keep their season alive.
In the Bob Dybvig Division semifinals, the division’s top seeded Quakers (34-5-1) beat the fifth-seeded Outback Thunder (16-23-1) in the first game 8-3 on Friday at home. In Carrot River on Sunday, the Quakers won 9-3. The Outback Thunder had trailed by just one, 1-0, after the first period, but the Quakers were able to score six times in the second to take a 7-0 lead.
Outback Thunder general manager Brennan Hall said that the keys to beating the Quakers are centered around playing a complete 60-minute game with a major focus on taking care of your own end. “Those guys have a deep, highly skilled team - but they’re not supernatural,” Hall said after game one. “They are beatable… We need to make sure we take care of our end first, get the puck deep into their end and hit them hard. They have a lot of high skill, but they don’t like to be hit, so if we can bring up our physical game and take our pace up another notch, we will be able to compete with them and make it a heck of a series. But if we want to just puck watch and not utilize our physicality then the Quakers will take advantage of that. I think our boys see that now and it should be a great series.”
Game three in the best of seven series is slated for Wednesday in Saskatoon with game four in Carrot River on Friday. If required, the Quakers would host the fifth game on Saturday, while the sixth would be in Carrot River on Sunday. A seventh and final game would be played in Saskatoon on March 11.
The Outback Thunder advanced to play the Quakers after upsetting the Bob Dybvig Division fourth-seeded Saskatoon Westleys, 2-1, in a best-of-three Survivor Series. Hall said it was very important to the Outback Thunder to win the Survivor Series.
“Last season was the only year the Thunder has missed the playoffs in at least a decade, so for us to get right back into them and win that Survivor Series, it was huge,” Hall said. “It more than likely shocked a lot of people and showed them, ‘Hey, we are still here, and we’re done trending down, it’s only up from here.’”
In the Survivor Series, Carrot River kept its season alive with a 4-1 victory in game three on the road. It was a team effort with four Outback Thunder players scoring, nine earning points and goaltender Chance Griffith making 32 saves on 33 shots.
The Outback Thunder won game one, 5-3, on the road. They fell 6-3 at home to set up a third and final game.
The Outback Thunder last week
Bob Dybvig Semifinals
Friday, Feb. 28 in Saskatoon
Saskatoon Quakers 8, Carrot River 3
Outback Thunder Scorers: Brandt Fiske, Kayden Graham, Kaden Suski
Quakers Scorers: Dodge Long (3), Noah Bankowski, Jordan Hudson, Wyatt Arndt, Caleb Cherry, Ahmed Ally
Goalies: Chance Griffith, Carrot River, 55 saves on 63 shots; Steven Duchscher, Saskatoon, 31 on 34
Notes: The Quakers led 4-1 and 6-2 at the intermissions. They outshot the Outback Thunder, 63-34.
Sunday, March 1 in Carrot River
Saskatoon Quakers 9, Carrot River 3
Outback Thunder Scorers: Liam Hallett, Chase Gallant, Tanner Dutcawich
Quakers Scorers: Brendan Kemp (2), Matthew Wilkinson (2), Kyle Gray, Cole Young, Kyler Douglas, Dodge Long, Hunter Schnell
Goalies: Chance Griffith, Carrot River, 41 saves on 50 shots; Steven Duchscher, Saskatoon, 23 on 26
Notes: Saskatoon held a 1-0 first period lead. The Quakers scored six times in the second. Carrot River was two-for-four on the powerplay, while Saskatoon was three-for-five. Gallant and Brandt Fiske had two points each for the Outback Thunder.
Wednesday, Feb. 26 in Saskatoon
Carrot River 4, Saskatoon Westleys 1
Outback Thunder Scorers: Tanner Dutcawich, Tyrell Nicklen, Brandt Fiske, Chase Gallant
Westleys Scorers: Colten Adair
Goalies: Chance Griffith, Carrot River, 32 saves on 33 shots; Jake Davidson, Saskatoon, 30 on 33
Notes: Neither team scored in the first period. Dutcawich and Nicklen, on a powerplay, gave Carrot River a 2-0 second period lead. Adair cut the lead to 2-1 in the third, but Fiske and Gallant, into an empty net, scored for the Outback Thunder. Fiske and David Wiens each had two points.
Sunday, Feb. 23 in Carrot River
Saskatoon Westleys 6, Carrot River 3
Outback Thunder Scorers: James Tingley, Tanner Dutcawich, Kaden Suski
Westleys Scorers: Colten Adair (5), Carter Rain
Goalies: Steven Soyko, Carrot River, 28 saves on 33 shots; Chance Griffith, Carrot River, 14 on 15; Jake Davidson, Saskatoon, 17 on 20
Notes: The Westleys tied the best-of-three series at 1-1. The Westleys led 1-0 and 5-2 at the intermissions.
The Carrot River Outback Thunder and Saskatoon Quakers meet for game three on Wednesday in Saskatoon. The best-of-seven series continues on Friday in Carrot River. Game five would be Saturday in Saskatoon followed, if needed, by a sixth game on Sunday in Carrot River. A seventh contest would be on March 11 in Saskatoon.