It's March Madness in the AJHL

JASON HILLS, SUN MEDIA

, Last Updated: 7:53 AM ET

FORT SASKATCHEWAN -- It's March Madness in the Alberta Junior Hockey League, and they are down to the Final Four.

The Fort Saskatchewan Traders will play host to the South Division's Okotoks Oilers tonight in the Fort (7:30 p.m.) at the Jubilee Rec Centre, while the Grande Prairie Storm travel to Camrose to face the Kodiaks in the other semi-final match-up.

After sweeping the defending AJHL champion Fort McMurray Oil Barons in four straight games the No.2 ranked Junior A team in Canada knows that if Fort Mac was one level, Okotoks is a whole other level in itself.

"They are a team that makes you be aware everytime your out on the ice," said Traders head coach Brett Cox.

"Okotoks has three lines that can score. Their defense is big and strong, and their goaltender (Bradley Eidsness) has been recognized by the NHL scouts."

The Traders couldn't be entering their AJHL semi-final series any hotter.

Their last loss was Jan.12. Since then they have rattled off 18 straight wins that include four in the playoffs.

"Our guys have been practising and playing at a high level right from day one, and they have certainly benefited from that," added Cox, who feels the Traders depth will help them prevail in this series.

"Our veterans have played the way we need them to play, and our rookies have played so well for us, you can't really call them rookies anymore. We have success when we play our strong brand of Traders hockey shift and shift out."

The series will have two premier goaltenders in Eidsness and future Team Canada Women's National goaltender Shannon Szabados between the pipes for the Traders.

Szabados has been lights out in the first four games of the playoffs posting a 0.56 GAA and a .970 SV% to go along with one shutout. Eidsness has posted a 7-4 record and 2.76 GAA and a .900 SV%.


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