The Estevan Bruins are the eighth and final team to clinch a berth in the Canalta Cup playoffs. They earned that right just by going to overtime in Flin Flon and getting one point, but for good measure they grabbed the extra with a 5-4 (OT) win, and also learned that Kindersley lost in Yorkton. A Bruins win OR OT loss, OR a Kindersley loss would have wrapped up no worse than an eighth place finish for Estevan.
After Flin Flon led 1-0 after the first period, the Bruins (28-22-3-1) scored four straight in the second, before the Bombers scored three in the third to tie and force extra time. Isaiah Thomas capped of a hat trick and a four point (3g-1a) night 2:13 into overtime. Tanner Manz (1g-1a) and Erik Boers also scored for Estevan and Randy Cooke made 34/38 saves. Estevan’s win jumped them past idle Humboldt and into seventh place by a point, with a game in hand. They’re four points back of sixth place Nipawin, also with one in hand, and they’ll cap their four game road trip Saturday against the Hawks.
Nothing will change in the standings for the Bombers (35-13-6-0), who have sewn up second overall and the Sher-Wood Division. Hayden Clayton and Donavan Houle-Villeneuve each had a goal and an assist on Friday, while Matt Raymond scored and Cole Rafuse added his 37th of the season.
The Yorkton Terriers earned the Viterra Division banner on Friday, beating the Kindersley Klippers 3-1 at home.
Philippe Bond was excellent, making 43/44 saves. Alec Zawatsky (1g-1a), Keenan Taphorn and Ethan Robson did the scoring, while Liam Fraser scored his 27th of the year for the Klippers (21-26-6-1) and Steven Bacovsky made 26/29 saves.
As of this season, winning your division no longer guarantees you a top-three spot in the playoff seeding, as it’s just ranked 1-8 by points overall. The Terriers (33-19-2-1) do have the inside track on third spot, but three teams still have a chance to catch them, with La Ronge (three points back, three games left), Melfort (four points back, two games in hand, five remaining), and Nipawin (five points game, three games left) all still having a shot.
The Klippers’ loss means they will finish outside the playoff mix this season, 10 points back of eighth with only four games to go.
Those teams in 4th, 5th, and 6th chasing Yorkton all won home games on Friday over non-playoff teams, so there was no change in positioning with La Ronge, Melfort and Nipawin all picking up two points.
La Ronge held serve in fourth place, doubling up Weyburn 4-2. Defenseman James Philpott led the way with a goal and two assists, while Holden Knights, Ben Manson and Ty Budai also found the net. Xavier Cannon made 24/26 saves to pick up the win for the Ice Wolves (30-19-3-3). La Ronge remains one point up on Melfort, with the Mustangs having two games in hand.
Daytona Houle and Dace Prymak did the scoring for the Red Wings (19-33-1-2), and Braden Birnie assisted on both. Joseph Young made 30/34 saves in the loss.
The Melfort Mustangs have the best chance of moving up the standings as anyone, as they still have five games left after Friday, while the other teams packed around them all have three.
Kenzie Arnold (1g-1a), Ben Tkachuk and Tian Rask all scored and Shawn Parkinson made 17/18 saves as the Mustangs (28-16-6-3) downed the Notre Dame Hounds 3-1.
Melfort’s still sitting in fifth, a point back of La Ronge with two games in hand, and four back of third place Yorkton. Melfort hosts Weyburn Saturday, a road game in Yorkton next Tuesday, home and home with Nipawin next weekend, and they’ll host Flin Flon to cap the regular season on Monday, March 2nd.
Captain Jared Hamm scored and Logan Dyck stopped 42/45 shots in goal for the Hounds (18-29-5-2).
The Nipawin Hawks are down to three games remaining, but still have a shot to move up from sixth as two of those games are against Melfort. They kept pace with the rest of the pack on Friday, beating the visiting Melville Millionaires 6-1.
Michael Makarenko and Riley Bruce each had two goals and an assist to lead the Hawks (30-21-3-1) while Carson Erhardt and Dawson McKenzie chipped in the others. Dalton Dosch made 19/20 saves, giving up a late one with 2:01 left.
Connor Nolan scored for the Millionaires (15-32-2-4), spoiling the shutout bid. Melville’s back at home on Saturday, looking to break a six game losing streak.
Nipawin’s home to Estevan on Saturday, then get most of the next week off before finishing their regular season with that key Melfort home-and-home next Friday/Saturday.