Spruce Grove Saints’ success depends on deep playoff run

WATCH ABOVE: The Spruce Grove Saints will host the Grande Prairie Storm on Friday for Game 1 of the AJHL's North Division semi-final. As Quinn Phillips reports, the Saints have won 14 of their last 16 games down the stretch to secure first place in the division.

The Spruce Grove Saints finished their season on top of the Alberta Junior Hockey League’s (AJHL) North Division.

The Saints are a team that really surged in the second half of the season, winning 14 of its last 16 games heading in to the playoffs. Now the team has high hopes for a deep playoff run.

“I think there was a point where we thought maybe we were geared to win next year,” head coach Bram Stephen says. “Getting a couple of veteran players in and seeing the growth of our young guys, certainly, at some point we thought, ‘Yeah, we can push this year as well as next year.'”

The Saints have been boosted by the individual success of a pair of veterans.

Chris Van Os-Shaw, a 20-year-old forward with the team, scored 51 goals this year. He’s the first player in the AJHL to hit that mark since former Oilers forward Mark Letestu scored 50 with the Bonnyville Pontiacs in 2005-06.

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“I think I had 30 goals at Christmastime,” Van Os-Shaw says. “I was just hoping to get those 20 more.”

Josh Harris is playing his fourth and final season with the Saints. His name will go down in the record books with him hitting a number of all-time marks, including games played, total points, goals and assists.

The Saints open the playoffs against the Grande Prairie Storm on Friday at Grant Fuhr Arena.



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