The Grunthal Red Wings scored five unanswered goals en route to a 5-3 victory over the Ste. Anne Aces Monday night in game one of the Carillon Senior Hockey League's best-of-seven final.
"We played a pretty good game all the way through," said Red Wings captain Jeff Penner. "They came out pretty good. The start was tough but once we got rolling we seemed to be okay. I was proud of our defense."
Goals by Miguel Rondeau and Justin Tremblay staked the defending champion Aces to a 2-0 lead but Grunthal's work on the power play drew the homeside even.
Kyle Lundale and Ryan Frykas scored four minutes apart midway through the middle frame and Landon Plett's even strength goal at 14:24 of the period gave the Red Wings their first lead of the game.
The turning point of game one was the Aces failure to beat Grunthal goaltender Edwin Albert when the visitors enjoyed a seven-minute power play after Wings forward Tim Plett received a two-minute slashing minor and a five minute major for goalie interference with 29 seconds left in the second period.
"It's always tough starting a period on the power play, that's not an excuse but it's a fact," said Ste. Anne captain Steph Pattyn. "We just weren't ready and they beat us to pucks. We couldn't really regroup through the whole six-and-a-half minutes."
Lundale and Jason Frykas scored in the third period for the Red Wings.
Aces forward Keith Grondin made it a 5-3 game when he scored with 5:19 left in regulation.
Ste. Anne wouldn't get any closer.
"Second period we took a couple of shifts off and they tied the game and the momentum started that way," said Aces coach Kevin Lansard. "We got to keep our feet moving and we got to be prepared to play 60 minutes. We know it's going to be a long series - if we don't play 60 minutes, it won't."
Game two goes Friday (8 p.m.) in Ste. Anne and the series returns to Grunthal for game three on Sunday (7 p.m.).
"They're a good team and they're not going to quit," said Lundale. "It's only one game. It's a seven game series. We're going to enjoy this a little bit but we need to get ready for Friday. It's going to be a battle."