This past Saturday, the Bradford Rattlers hosted the Ville-Marie Pirates for Game 3 in the best-of-seven North Division finals. Bradford would then travel to the Pirates barn on Sunday for Game 4.
The arena welcomed Ashton Vee and Kayden Taylor to the game, acting as the team’s pre-game flag bearers. The two would do a quick skate under the spotlights, proudly sporting the Bradford Rattlers flag for the game.
The game started in dangerous territory, with the Rattlers giving the Pirates a set of powerplays early in the period. These came on the back of a holding penalty by Burns(#22) at 1:26, followed by a hooking penalty by Witkowski(#68) at 3:05. The Rattlers would have to fight off a hungry Ville-Marie team as they went on the attack, putting the Rattlers on defence in a scary stretch of three-on-five hockey. Ville-Marie would even up the odds, though, to four-on-four, and a short powerplay for the Rattlers, taking a penalty at 3:49, slashing call on Boucher. The Pirates would control the puck for much of the first period and outshoot the Rattlers 16-11. Rattlers Goalie Maxim Ivanov (#35) stood on his head in his playoff home game debut, helping to keep his team focused and in the game!
The Rattlers welcomed the local Bradford Timbits program to the ice during the first intermission. The kids did an amazing job with the pucks and put on a great show for the fans during the first intermission. The kids would liven up the stands later on with loud chants and the “Wave” in support of the Rattlers!
Parents from the Bradford Timbits sent in thanks for allowing the kids the opportunity to enjoy the game and showcase their skills to the fans.
“The kids had such a fun experience being on the ice playing in front of such a lively crowd. They also revelled in the Rattlers' win and can not wait to watch their next game. Thanks to Travis Dafoe and the Rattlers organization for the great memories," Rick Turner said.
Second-period action, the Pirates jumped on the Rattlers immediately, taking advantage of their powerplay with a pass in the neutral zone by Etienne Bourque (#5) up to Mathis Chartier (#91.) The puck sailed cross ice to the uncovered Oliver Lamothe (#9) sitting deep behind the net, who would have the quick snap to take the first goal of the game at 16:25.
The celebration would be short-lived, however, with the Rattlers' Arvid Malm (#19) winning the face-off. With a quick pass up, Stepan Levitskiy (#14) dodged through two defenders to drain the puck, top shelf over the Pirates blocker. The period would see more battling back and forth and a half dozen penalties before the Pirates would re-take the lead with a goal by Jordan Riviere (#8). He would unexpectantly obtain the puck in the neutral zone as he was making his way off the ice from the penalty box from a high sticking penalty. Riviere would go on a breakaway and, with a huge triple-deek, score low on the stick side of the Rattlers goalie.
Bradford wouldn’t let the Pirates celebrate long, taking the lead with two rapid-fire goals. Jacob Rhodin (#91) would battle through two slashes and a stick to the back of the head to drain the puck glove side on the Pirates goalie. The assists would go to Pavel Rozhkov (#7) and Jesper Eriksson (#8) at 15:05. Shortly thereafter, the Rattlers would set up a beautiful split of the Pirates defence with a cross-ice blue line pass from Tyler Baxter (#17) to Stepan Levitskiy (#14), and up to Arvid Malm (#19), who would snap in a massive one-timer at 16:21. Ville Marie wouldn’t let up on the Rattlers punishing Goalie Ivanov, with 20 powerful shots to the Rattlers 23.
The Rattlers would keep the pressure on in the third period while Ivanov would fight hard to keep the puck away from the Rattlers drain. Bradford’s Ryan St. John (#13) would obtain the first goal of the period, going top shelf, snapping the goalies water bottle into the air from the blue line at 5:55. The assists to Swen Meusy (#12) and Chris Castrignano (#15). The period would end with Stepan Levitskiy (#14) getting the long “Hail Mary” shot from the Rattlers end into the empty net at 18:15.
As the Rattlers came off the ice, the kids in the stands were on their feet with loud applause! They waited anxiously at the stairs for high-fives with the young men who they admired so much. Two lucky fans received sticks from the players, and the team met the players after the game for autographs.
The three stars of the game:
- Bradford Rattlers’ #35 Maxim Ivanov - 44 Saves, 95.7 per cent
- Bradford Rattlers’ #14 Stepan Levitskiy - 2 G, 1A
- Ville-Marie Pirates’ #27 Emile Beausoleil - 47 Saves, 90.4 per cent
The Rattlers play at home on Saturday, March 25, at 8 p.m. in the Bradford Leisure Centre for Game 5 in this best-of-seven series. Leading the series now 3-1, the game will prove to be one of heavy hitting and high action.