Photo credit: Xander Holcomb, Blackfalds Bulldogs
24 hours following game one between the Blackfalds Bulldogs and Calgary Canucks, game two set the stage for one of two outcomes; a Blackfalds Bulldogs stranglehold of the series, or requiring Calgary to win four of the next five games. The Canucks’ 5-2 game one loss didn’t come without its positives, as Calgary’s start to game one was some of their best hockey of 2023.
However, the start of game two was a sharp contrast to that of the series’ opening game, with Blackfalds getting three goals in the first fourteen minutes through Layne Loomer, Tyler Wallace, and Tanner Willick notching the first three goals of the game. Calgary got a goal back at the end of the first, with Zephyr LaPlante striking on a breakaway to make it 3-1 with just over 90 seconds remaining.
Just as they did in game one, Blackfalds struck with an early second-period goal in game two, with Jayden Joly feeding Tyler Wallace to make it 4-1. The offensive explosion in the second period continued from there, with both teams trading long stretches of domination. Canuck goals from Gavin Schmidt, Ty Hipkin, and Dylan Bidyk were offset by Brendan Ross, Jayden Joly, Kurt Gurkan, and Kody Willick scoring for Blackfalds, sending the two teams to the second intermission with the score at 8-4 Blackfalds.
Rookie forward Layne Loomer continued the productive start to his AJHL playoff career, scoring early in the third to notch his third goal and fifth point of the series. Daniel Rozsival and Gavin Schmidt were able to beat Matthew Hennessey to get the score back within three, but a late Tyler Wallace powerplay goal not only completed Wallace his hat trick but gave him his eighth point of the series already. After a game one that saw 32 minutes of penalties, the two teams combined for exactly 100 in game two, setting up two games in Calgary that will not lack fireworks.