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Briercrest Clippers eliminated from ACAC men’s hockey playoffs

Top seeds fall 3-1 in opener, drop 5-1 decision in game two as promising season comes to an end

As last season’s version of the Boston Bruins can tell you, all it takes is facing a hot team at the wrong time in the playoffs to bring a promising season to a stunning conclusion.

Unfortunately for the Briercrest College Clippers, that was exactly the case this past weekend in the second round of the Alberta Colleges Athletic Conference playoffs.

Despite finishing in first place with a 17-7 record, the Clippers were unable to win a game against the sixth-seeded Concordia Thunder and were eliminated two games to none.

Concordia -- who finished with a 9-15 record and were the final team to qualify for the ACAC playoffs -- came into the series red hot, having upset NAIT in two games in their first-round battle. 

The Clippers, on the other hand, had received a first-round bye thanks to their first-place finish. As a result, Concordia had all sorts of momentum heading into the weekend, and it showed.

After a scoreless first period in game one on Friday at the Barkman Arena in Caronport, the Thunder took a 2-0 lead out of the second and made it a 3-0 game early in the third. 

Carson Ens got one back for Briercrest with 6:03 gone in the third, but the Clipper could get no closer. Dominik Tmej had 26 saves in the loss.

Rylan Nivon, Branden Meier and Lukas Konashuk scored for Concordia, Ashton Billesberger turned aside 37 shots.

Things went far better in the early going for the Clippers in Game 2, as Jaedon Little scored the lone goal of the first period and Briercrest had their first lead in the series.

Isaac Leik tied things up midway through the second, though, and Grayson Reid gave the Thunder the lead 2:11 into the third. A host of penalties were the story of the game from there, as Concordia scored three goals in under six minutes late in the game to put things away.

Liek, Tyler Schendel and Dalton Wilton all scored in the final 10:47, and the Thunder had their series win.

Alex Worthington had 29 saves in the loss, Billesberger stopped 32 for Concordia.

Concordia now advances to face Red Deer for the ACAC championship, with the Kings sweeping their two-game set with Augustana.

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