Barons fall in first playoff game 4-2 (AUDIO)

WHITECOURT, AB (March 4, 2013) — Hayden Dawes (Stony Plain, AB) erased a two-goal deficit with two second-period power play goals, but the Whitecourt Wolverines pulled away in the third for a 4-2 win in Game 1 of the best-of-5 first round series between the two teams on Monday night in Whitecourt.

For the Barons, it was the first time since 2009 that they have fallen in Game 1 of the playoffs.

The Wolverines opened the scoring just 63 seconds into the game when a point shot by league-leading scorer Mathieu Guertin was tipped in front of the MOB net by power forward Linden Penner, for a 1-0 lead for the home side.

The Barons almost turned the momentum around midway through the period when Justin Fraser (Hussar, AB) forced a turnover and got himself an unobstructed breakaway, but was unable to get a backhand shot past goalie Tanner Kovacs.

Whitecourt doubled that lead late in the first when the Barons found themselves on the first power play of the post season. Wolverine captain Jerome Raymond took possession of the puck at the right point, feathered a pass down to Guertin along the right wing, allowing the dangerous forward to skate to the bottom of the right wing circle and wire a sharp angle wrist shot past goalie Tanner Jaillet (Red Deer, AB) for a shorthanded goal and a 2-0 lead.

But just as the first period belonged to the Wolverines, with a 12-4 shot advantage, so too did the second belong to the Barons.

Two subsequent power-plays allowed the MOB man advantage unit to more than redeem itself from the shorthanded goal allowed.

First, at 15:07, Jetlan Houcher carried the puck in along the right wing, and saucered a cross-ice pass to Dawes, whose wrist shot deflected off of Wolverines defenceman Dale Deon and past Kovacs to get the MOB on the board.

Just a few minutes later, good hustle by impromptu defenceman Scott Pooley led to a third MOB powerplay, and only seconds in, Mike Marianchuk (Innisfail, AB) fired a slap shot from the blue line that Dawes tipped past Kovacs to knot the game up at 2 goals a piece.

But the Wolverines pulled away in the third at the 5:35 mark, when Ryan Berlin swung a puck from the right wing corner to Evan Warmington in front of the MOB net, whose quick deflection beat Jaillet for a 3-2 lead.

The Barons continued to press into the dying seconds of the third period, but it was Warmington again backhanding a puck from his own end all the way down the ice and into an empty MOB cage to cap off the scoring with 20 seconds left.

The Barons went 2 for 3 on their powerplay while the Wolverines were kept off the scoresheet on their 2 opportunities. Jaillet registered 32 saves on 35 shots while Kovacs was credited with 18 saves on 20 shots.

Game 2 of the series goes tomorrow night in Whitecourt, once again at 7:30.

Pre-game coverage starts at 7:15 on Country 93.3.

Country 93.3 3 stars:
3. Evan Warmington (2 goals)
2. Hayden Dawes (2 goals)
1. Mathieu Guertin (1 goal, 1 assist)