The Delisle Chiefs may be facing a 2-0 deficit in their Best of 7 series against the Saskatoon Quakers, but they are undeterred as the Prairie Junior Hockey League playoffs continue on tonight with Game 3 in Saskatoon.
After the Chiefs won their PJHL Survivor Series against the Carrot River Outback Thunder, they drew the top seeded Saskatoon Quakers who finished the regular season with a 30-10-0 record. Delisle swept the play-in series against Carrot River, but the matchup so far against Saskatoon has been a completely different animal.
The Chiefs went into Rod Hamm Arena on March 4th and dropped the opening game of the series 3-1. The night could have gone a lot worse for Delisle if not for a super performance from Fiske born goaltender Noah Martens who made 53 saves on 56 shots. Game 2 saw a better effort from the Chiefs defensively as they held the Quakers under 35 shots and collected 50+ of their own SOG's in the process, but it was a 7-2 final as the Quakers left the Delisle Centennial Areana up 2-0 in the series.
We spoke with Chiefs head coach Eric Ditto before the series began, and while he knew it was a tall task, he knows his team isn't afraid of the league's best.
"We played them six times. Looking at the head-to-heads, we lost one in overtime and had a couple of other one goal games. They are a very good team, and they score a lot of goals."
Ditto knows that a slow start to the season played a big factor in the Chiefs playoff placement, as he reinforced just how much he trusts his team. At the time of the interview his team was coming off four straight wins against some good teams, as it wouldn't be a surprise to see the Chiefs rebound once again like they have so many times this season.
Despite only 17 wins total, the team had some of the longest win streaks in the PJHL this season.
"We know we can beat good teams. You look at Pilot Butte who were first place overall in the entire league, and they only had eight regulation losses. We beat them three of those eight," shared Ditto, "It's not a matter of us having to find ways to beat teams above us in the standings, we know we can do it, it's just about coming together at the right time."
The Chiefs will need to right the ship tonight if they want to avoid a 3-0 series strangle-hold. Puck drop is set for tonight at 7:30 from the Rod Hamm Arena in Saskatoon.