Peoria Mustangs and Oregon Tradesmen met for the final time this season on Wednesday afternoon. It was a makeup date after their series finale was postponed due to ice conditions on March 19. Powered by a 56-save effort from Cole Garver, Oregon defeated the visitors 2-0.
Henry Slager provided all the offense needed when he scored midway into the second period. Sam VanderHoeven and Gunnar Schiffmann assisted on the tally, his fourth of the season. Devin Hays empty net goal in the final minute secured the victory for Oregon.
With playoff spots secured by both teams, the final week of the NA3HL regular season offers a chance to fine-tune play and grab hold of some momentum. Oregon (17-20-0-0) hope to be doing just that ahead of their first round matchup with division winner Rochester Grizzlies.
The Tradesmen have won three of the last five games and a red-hot Garver in net has the team thinking anything possible. With a 2.64 GAA and .930 save% Garver has established himself as a go-to guy in net any contender need. The 20-year old former Middleton High netminder is playing the best hockey of his career so far.
“Garver has been great for us all year,” commented Tradesmen head coach Don Babineau. “The team is gaining confidence and believe they have a shot to win every time he’s in net.”
While the numbers don’t show quite as bright, Hunter Adams (3.71 GAA, .894 save%) has been solid between the pipes for Oregon from Day 1. His 22 appearances is ninth most of all NA3HL goaltenders.
“We’ll need both goaltenders to step up if we are going to move on in the playoffs,” added Babineau. “They both have shown the ability to win games, but we’ll need a team effort if we hope to advance.”
Before playoffs begin the Tradesmen will host a three-game series against the St. Louis Jr. Blues this weekend. Tickets are available for purchase online at https://vivenu.com/seller/oregon-tradesmen-x2ir.