Saints double down in Drayton Valley doubleheader

Split squad Saints grab two wins

The Spruce Grove Saints have a couple of wins to start off the preseason.
The Saints beat the Drayton Valley Thunder 4-0 and 6-5 in back-to-back split squad games at Grant Fuhr Arena on Tuesday.
Head Coach Bram Stephen says the weekend's training camp got the team off to a good start.

"It was a really good camp, it was competitive, it was intense with each other at the start - it went really well. Guys are absorbing information, trying to apply it in a game," he said.

"It's a lot of ice - I think this was their seventh skate in four days. That's a lot right off the hop, especially when we have intensity like this."

The opening game featured mostly rookies, while the later game saw both teams dress more veteran laden lineups.

Stephen says his returnees have impressed.

"Pretty much everyone's come in and they look faster and stronger - they've put in the work in the summer. Some of our guys have really done a good job putting in the work on the ice, too. A guy like Cole Basnett's really improved his skating, same with Cam Chin," he said.

"Fitness level on guys like (Stanley) Cooley, and (Seth) Fyten has been noticeable, a lot of our guys have really put in the work. (Ryan) Peckford is in better shape. I can go down the list, it's probably unfair just to name a few."

Cooley and Carter Myrol each scored and set the other up in the 4-0 win, while former Calgary Hitman Bryce Bader had a hat trick in the 6-5 final.

Stephen says the newcomers are also adjusting well to his team's style of play.

"We try to play a fast brand, and we're trying to open it up a little bit more, even more so than last year. We were very good defensively last year, and we created offence from, a lot of times, puck retrieval - so we want to carry it a little bit more," he said. 

"It's a little bit of an adjustment - we made some changes to what we're trying to do, so even our returning guys are trying to feel it out right now."

The Saints are right back at it Wednesday, with a game in Lloydminster against the Bobcats.

The team is then off until Sunday, when the Fort McMurray Oil Barons visit at 2 pm.

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