By Mike Stackhouse
Former Melfort Mustang Jaxon Joseph scored two goals and set-up another as the Humboldt Broncos throttled Joseph’s former club 7-2 in game one of their quarter-final series.
January 10th pick-up Nick Shumlanski (ex-Flin Flon) also scored twice and had a four point night for the Broncos, who now have home ice advantage in the series and pose a few questions Melfort’s way as the series looks toward game two.
One of the questions Melfort will need to answer is the Humboldt powerplay that went 4-for-8. Another may be goaltending as Evan Plotnik was chased at 4-1 midway through the second, but Hunter Arps didn’t fare much better, allowing three goals on sixteen shots. Arps did have better statistical numbers than Plotnik in the second half of the year, but Plotnik’s experience and overall play this year earned him the starting nod. It’s, likely, he will be back in for game two but the goals against is too high no matter who’s between the pipes.
Logan Schatz picked up a goal and two assists for the Broncos and Jacob Wassermann was a surprise starter in goal and he rewarded his coach with the selection in making 29-stops. Wassermann only played 5 of his team’s final 20 games (in part, because of WHL call-ups). Brayden Camrud and Jacob Leicht rounded out the scoring for Humboldt.
Tristen Elder, who was traded for Joseph earlier in the year, had both Melfort goals.
Mustangs will host game two on Saturday.
In Nipawin, the Flin Flon Bombers had their momentum grind to a screeching halt as the top seeded Hawks beat them 5-1, although Flin Flon can build on the fact they outshot the Hawks 33-31.
Brenden Newton was lifted after two periods and 4-goals on 18-shots.
Brandan Arnold had a goal and three assists for the Hawks. Kenzie Arnold, Austin Mikesch, Grant Baetsen, and Tyler Adams also scored for Nipawin. Adams earned a gross misconduct four minutes after his second period goal.
Nate Hooper broke up Declan Hobbs’ shutout bid midway through the third.
Nipawin entertains game two on Saturday.
Arik Weersink couldn’t be beat against Melville this week. The Stars chased him from the net thirteen minutes into game one on Friday night as they built a 3-0 lead and ended up on top 5-1 to draw first blood in their quarter-final series.
Weersink, who had a shutout streak of five periods against the Mils in the Survivor Series, was beaten by Chaseton Braid, Cole Johnson (shorthanded), and Layne Young within the first ten shots he faced.
Keith Anderson and Owen Lamb would tack on markers in the second against Liam McCloskey.
Mike Eskra had an early second period goal for Weyburn, the only blemish against Joel Grzybowski, who got the nod over Taryn Kotchorek, who didn’t dress.
Battlefords will host game two on Saturday.
Estevan got all the offense it needed in the second period as they downed Kindersley 3-1 in game one of their series.
Kaelan Holt opened the scoring at 3:22 of the middle frame and then Jayden Davis got a powerplay goal at the midway point. Zach Goberis scored shorthanded with just over five minutes to play in the second to seal it. Michael McChesney set up both special teams’ goals.
Nikolas Malenica beat Bo Didur, who made 21-saves, at 8:40 of the third to end the shutout bid.
Justen Close had 26-stops for the Klippers, who went with the extra attacker for the final two minutes to no avail.
Estevan plays host to the Klippers for game two on Saturday.