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Fort Macleod Mustangs rally to knot championship series with Nanton Palominos

cody hall

Mustangs goalie Cody Hall stops Nanton’s Brandon Hoogenboom as defenceman Jadon Porterfield moves in to clear the rebound.

The Ranchland Hockey League championship series is proving to be the tough battle everyone expected from the top two teams.
Fort Macleod Mustangs and Nanton Palominos each posted a one-goal victory on home ice on the weekend to open the best-of-five series.
The teams renew hostilities at 8:30 p.m. Friday, March 18 at Nanton.
The fourth game of the series is at 2:30 p.m. Sunday, March 20 at the Fort Macleod and District Sports Centre.
The fifth game, if necessary, is Monday, March 21 at 7 p.m. at Nanton.
Nanton 3 Mustangs 2
The Palominos, who finished in first place in regular season, drew first blood in the championship series.
Nanton eked out a 3-2 win over the visiting Mustangs as the series got under way on Friday.
The Palominos took advantage of an early powerplay to open the scoring.
With Fort Macleod serving a tripping penalty, Brandon Hoogenboom and Brady Hoetmer set up Greg Martin for the game’s first goal just 3:28 after the puck dropped.
Fort Macleod got that one back 10 minutes later on a goal by Brady Matson, assisted by Ashton Zintel and Dayn Opel.
The score stayed that way until the buzzer sounded and the teams went into the dressing room even at 1-1.
Fort Macleod goalie Cody Hall and Nanton counterpart Myles Dunne dominated the second period, holding the shooters off the scoreboard.
Fort Macled got its first lead of the game eight minutes into the third period on a goal by captain Cole Matson, assisted by Cody Berube.
The Palominos tied the score four minutes later, with Hoetmer taking advantage of another powerplay opportunity. Hoogenboom and Brody Eisbrenner assisted.
Just a minute and a half later Nanton took the lead for good on a goal by Eisbrenner, assisted by Eddie Tracy.
Fort Macleod couldn’t get another puck past Dunne and the Palominos skated off with a 3-2 win.
Hall made 34 saves in the loss, while Dunne blocked 26 shots.
Mustangs 5 Nanton 4
The scene shifted to Fort Macleod on Saturday for the second game of the series.
Hall was at the top of his game again as the veteran goalie blocked 41 shots to lead Fort Macleod to a 5-4 win.
The teams skated through a scoreless first period until Dayn Opel found the back of the net with 20 second son the clock. Jadon Porterfield and Kent Broere assisted on the goal.
The Palominos got that one back 34 seconds into the second period on a solo effort by Hoogenboom.
Nanton continued to take advantage of special teams opportunities, getting a powerplay goal by Hoetmer just a minute later to take a 2-1 lead. Martin and Tracy assisted.
Two minutes after that Fort Macleod tied the game on a goal by Cole Matson, assisted by Bryce Lamb.
Nine minutes later Opel got his second of the game on a solo effort and Fort Macleod had a 3-2 lead.
With 1:43 left in the second period Zintel scored, assisted by Brady Matson and Tyce Gallamore, and Fort Macleod led 4-2 going into the break.
Nanton pulled within a goal 33 seconds into the third on a powerplay goal by Hoetmer, assisted by Hoogenboom and Tracy.
Fort Macleod continued its strong play and was rewarded with a goal by Brady Matson, assisted by Gallamore.
Nanton got its fourth goal — again on the powerplay, with just over six minutes to play. This time it was Tracy converting a pass from Martin to make it 5-4.
The Palominos continued to press but the Mustangs would not be denied, thanks in large part to the goaltending of Hall who made a point-blank save with 1:20 to play to preserve the win.

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