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Mustangs gallop past Palominos to Ranchland final

Fort Macleod Mustangs left nothing to chance last weekend as they eliminated the Nanton Palominos from the Ranchland Hockey League playoffs.

The Mustangs beat the Palominos 6-1 Friday on home ice and 9-2 Saturday in Nanton to win their vest-of-three semifinal series 3-1.

The Mustangs now take on Lethbridge Lightning in the best-of-five championship series.

The first gme of the series is at 8 p.m. Friday, March 15 at Claresholm Arena. The second game is at 7:30 p.m. Saturday, March 16 at Nicholas Sheran Arena in Lethbridge.

Mustangs 6 Palominos 1

Joshua McCulloch scored three goals and set up another and Matt Forchuk had a goal and three assists as Fort Macleod dominated Nanton 6-1 Friday night.

Forchuk opened the scoring four minutes into the game, assisted by McCulloch and Brad Whitehead, but Nanton replied five minutes later with a goal by Brodie Eisbrenner.

Fort Macleod took the lead for good five minutes later on McCulloch’s first goal of the game, assisted by Rylan Schuberg and Grady Honess.

With 28 seconds left in the first period Robbie McLean scored, assisted by Forchuk, and Fort Macleod led 3-1.

The teams were scoreless in the second period but McCulloch wasted little time finding the back of the net in the third, scoring 42 seconds after the puck dropped. Forchuk and McLean assisted.

Brandon Aab made it 5-1 with an unassisted powerplay goal 4 1/2 minutes later.

McCulloch closed out the scoring with his hat trick goal with just over four minutes to play, this one on the powerplay. Forchuk assisted.

Mustangs goalie Aaron DeKok made 40 saves in the victory.

The Mustangs fired 33 shots on Nanton goalie Matthew McDonald.

Mustangs 9 Palominos 2

Fort Macleod broke open a tight game Saturday with five consecutive goals on their way to a 9-2 win.

The teams traded goals in a close-checking first period, with Fort Macleod leading 2-1 going into the break.

The Mustangs then scored four times in the second to open some breathing room, leading 6-2 after 40 minutes.

Fort Macleod closed out the win with three unanswered third-period goals.

Matt Forchuk had two goals and four assists and Joshua McCulloch had two goals and two helpers for Fort Macleod.

Robbie McLean had a goal and three assists, Brandon Aab had a goal and two assists and Tanner Stovin had a goal and an assist.

Ryan McLaughlin and Tyce Gallamore also scored for Fort Macleod.

Brad Whitehead had three assists and Kent Broere, Taylor McNeill, and Dylan Kempin each had one.

Jordan Xavier and Luke Jensen were the only Palominos to solve Fort Macleod goalie Aaron DeKok, who made 14 saves. Devon Hardie made seven saves as well.

Fort Macleod directed 48 shots on Nanton goalie Matthew McDonald.

In the other semifinal series, Lethbridge Lightning beat Siksika Buffaloes 5-4 Friday to complete a three-game sweep.

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