Everything seemed fairly normal for the Meota Combines through 40 minutes of their Saskatchewan Prairie Hockey League playoff opener at home on Wednesday night at the Civic Centre.
They led the Maymont Settlers 3-1 heading into the third period and looked set to take game one of the best three-of-five series.
Unfortuately for them, the third period is when all hell broke loose.
The Combines took two separate five-minute majors in the third period and let the Settlers score four unanswered goals to win the game 5-3.
Three of those goals came on a Maymont power play.
"Coming into the third period, we just said 'Keep going with our style. Keep playing defence,'" Settlers forward Darren Delainey said after the upset win for his club, where he registered three assists. "We [didn't] want to have to score three or four goals to win. We just needed the two to tie and then we'll just drag it to overtime. Then we got fortunate. Like I said, hard work, and they started taking some undisciplined penalties and we capitalized on it."
Kyle Fiddler scored all three of the Settlers power play goals in quick succession in the third period, and Delainey said he deserves a ton of credit.
"Bang, bang, bang, that just lifted the whole team," Delainey said. "I'd have to give him a lot of credit for sticking through."
The Combines had some power plays in the third period as well, but couldn't beat Settlers goaltender Spencer Laycock.
"We were trying to play a defensive game here because we know they're a high-scoring team," Delainey added. "We were just trying to keep out of our net and try to get our [own] scoring chances. We got lucky to get a few 5-on-3's and that's where we generated our offence."
Game two of the first-round series is set for Friday night in Maymont at 8 p.m., while game three is back in North Battleford on Sunday at 7 p.m.
Meanwhile, there was another upset on the opening night in the SPHL, as the top-seeded Hafford Hawks fell 3-2 in overtime to the Glaslyn North Stars.
Also last night, the Edam Three Stars won 5-1 over the Radisson Wheat Kings in game one of their series.
The Battleford Beaver Blues kick off their first-round matchup with Shellbrook on Thursday at Battleford Arena at 7:30 p.m.
On Twitter: @NathanKanter11
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