The Home Hardware Midget AAA Legionnaires continued their success against the Beardys Blackhawks this season with a 5-1 win Friday night at the Innovation Credit Union iPlex.
Swift is now 3-0 against the Blackhawks, after previous wins of 3-2 (Jan 27) and 7-1 (Dec 17).
The Legionnaires opened scoring in the first period with a Mac Gross goal midway through the frame.
That 1-0 lead carried through the first 40 minutes, although that score was perhaps a little deceiving, as the one-goal lead didn't show the swarm of near misses that couldn't bounce the home team's way.
"I thought the first period we created a ton of real good, Grade-A chances," said Legionnaires head coach Darren Evjen, noting the next 20 was a slight shift in momentum. "I thought the second period they pushed back and we didn't have as many chances - the opportunities we had, we didn't execute on them."
Beardys ended up tying the game a little over a minute into the third period on a misplayed puck behind the Legionnaires' net - but that tie game didn't last long.
Mason Strutt answered back on a short-handed breakaway two minutes later going top shelf for a 2-1 lead, as well as the eventual game-winner.
Looking like a low-scoring affair through nearly 52 minutes, the doors were blown off in the final eight and change.
Reed Jacobson scored at the 8:19 mark, Strutt added his second two minutes later, and with 1:02 left in the game Ty Muench scored the game's final goal.
For Muench it was a rewarding goal despite the sizeable margin, as two first-period shots of his were among the near-scoring chances.
"It was good, I knew I needed to stick to my game plan," Muench said. " I didn't get the two bounces right off the start and I knew I've just got to keep working hard and eventually the bounces are going to go my way."
Cody Levesque turned in another solid performance between the pipes for the Legionnaires, stopping 33 of 34 shots for the W.
Carrying a deadlocked game in the third period's opening moments, it was another case of resiliency for this Legionnaires' team to break through late.
"We just stuck to the gameplan - we knew that we had to just keep doing what we're doing," explained Muench. "We weren't playing bad, (Beardys' goal) was a bad bounce, and we just needed to keep working hard and we knew we were eventually going to get the right bounces and get the puck in the net.
A strong finish has been a common theme for the Legionnaires lately, especially since the calendar turned to 2018.
"Well I think we've been really good in the third period here down the last probably six or seven games," Evjen said. "We've put good pushes through into the third and played well. We continued to do that today. It was nice, we had some APs up that played really good for us."
Three APs found themselves in the navy and yellow of the Legionnaires in the game.
Defenceman Nathan McInnis and forwards Quinn Patenaude and Rhett Evjen all logged solid ice time in a brief break from the Midget AA Broncos. That roster depth comes at a good time for Swift, who played their first of a stretch of four games in five days.
"It's a tough schedule and we want to give our guys an opportunity here and see how they play when we bring them up to play," Evjen said. "They're all players that want to try and make our team next year, and this is a great way to bring them in so that they're comfortable when they come here, they know how we play, and we can see how they respond in these games."
From the player perspective as well, Muench notes that fresh legs are a premium with just seven regular season games remaining.
"We really need good rest and to be prepared - especially our APs. The young guys coming up are going to have a big influence on that - take some ice time, let the other guys rest, and it will be key for them to play some good games and play solid out there," he said.
Having now won 11 of their last 12 games and shifting to two more home games this weekend, the Legionnaires are set to welcome the Yorkton RawTec Maulers to the southwest for a Saturday night and Sunday afternoon set.
"They're a good, deep team. They've got good young guys and they've got a winning tradition with that group that's there right now from Yorkton - they've won a lot," Evjen shared. "We expect a good, hard match. We split with them in Yorkton, so we'll just worry about tomorrow, prepare for them, and be ready to go tomorrow night."
Puck drop Saturday night between the Legionnaires and Maulers is 8 p.m. at the Innovation Credit Union iPlex.