The Airdrie Bisons didn’t go down without a fight in the quarterfinals of the Mac’s AAA Midget Hockey Tournament today in quarterfinal action.

It’s the undefeated Saskatoon Blazers who are heading into the semifinals this afternoon after beating the Bisons 5-4 in a game that could have gone either way, despite being outshot 39-21.

Down by two goals for the better part of the game, the Bisons grew stronger as the game progressed and scored two goals in 35 seconds midway through the third to tie the game, 4-4. Two and a half minutes later, the Blazers scored the eventual winner, then tightened their defence to leave the Bisons without a shot on net for the balance of the game.

The Bisons had a 3-1 record coming out of the round-robin and their heightened performance is reflective on how they’ve grown as a team this season, says Bisons head coach Dustin Taylor.

“They’re maturity has come up a lot since September When we go into games we don’t fluctuate from our game plan and play consistently. I couldn’t be more proud of their performance in the Mac.”

“They’re an ultra-competitive group and they have a lot of second, third and fourth battle computes. They never quit, we just ran out of time in this game.”

The team’s only loss in the round robin came at the hands of the New York Jr. Islanders, who finished second in the pool. The Bisons beat the Thompson Blazers, Saskatoon Contacts and the Ft. Saskatchewan Rangers.

The Blazers were undefeated in the round robin, winning all their games by at least three goals, and the Bisons proved to be their biggest challenge of the tournament to date.

Now in their second season back in Airdrie after playing out of Strathmore in the AMHL for a quarter century, the pieces are starting to fall into place for the AAA club.

Their never-say-die work ethic and ability to build their own energy is a major factor in their determination to secure a spot in the Alberta Midget Hockey League (AMHL) playoffs in March.

“They’ve exceeded expectations, especially if you put the years together. I think we’ve surprised a lot of people on the positive side of things. We’ve selected our players based upon those who can contribute not only on the ice but off the ice as well and help grow our brand in Airdrie and Cochrane. I think they’ve done an outstanding job.”

There are eight Cochrane players on the roster.

Twenty-five games into their AMHL season the Bisons have a 12-10-3 record with nine games remaining in the regular season.

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