What started as a best-of-five series in the Saskatchewan Prairie Hockey League final this past weekend is now a best two-of-three, after the Meota Combines and Hafford Hawks each won one game in the league finals to knot the series 1-1.
The Combines snuck out a tight 2-1 road win on Friday night, getting goals from Riley Albert and Levin Floen, but the Hawks bounced back on Sunday evening, thanks to a hat-trick from Kobe Kindrachuk, which included the game-winning-goal.
"Compared to the opener, we finished our chances tonight," Kindrachuk said following Sunday's game. "In the first game, we were up 1-0 going into the third and we let them get back in the game. Tonight, we kept going and we didn't give them the chance to get back in it."
The hat-trick was Kindrachuk's second in the last four playoff games, and also brings his goal total in the post-season to 10, which is tied for first in the league.
The forward added getting things organized in their own end was a huge key to Sunday's win as well.
"It all started in the D-zone," he said. "Our defence were giving us good outlet passes...Our breakouts, they were unreal."
On the other side, Combines forward Blake Tatchell said slow starts were a common theme for his club in both game one and game two.
"They play good defensively and keep things to the outside and don't let too much in the middle, so I think we've got to focus on getting pucks to the net and start getting more traffic," Tatchell said, who has a goal and an assist in the first two games of the finals. "We've just got to take into game three what we've been doing in the third periods here in the first two games."
In both games, the score was just 1-0 heading into the third period.
"It's been two good, tight-checking games," Tatchell said, adding that nothing changes now that it's a best two-of-three. "Take it game by game and go from there."
Game three of the final will be played in Battleford on Tuesday night at 8:15 p.m., with game four scheduled for Sunday, March 18 at 5 p.m. at the Civic Centre. Game five, if necessary, has not been pencilled in yet.
Hafford is also in the midst of their 'C' provincial north final, where they're taking on Drake. Game one went to Drake by a 5-2 score, with game two set for Friday, March 16 in Drake at 8 p.m.
Kindrachuk said with both provincials and league finals, it's a good time of year.
"It was going too slow during the season, one [or] two games a week, and now it's like playing junior," he said. "Game every second day, so it's tough on the body but it's fun."
On Twitter: @NathanKanter11
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