By Craig Stein
The Flin Flon Bombers have five of a possible six points three games into their southern road trip now, after they went into Notre Dame and beat the Hounds 4-3 on Friday, and in doing so, may have just turned that game into a Wild Card Series preview.
It’s not confirmed yet, but the Hounds’ loss means they can’t catch 6th place Kindersley due to the Klippers holding the head-to-head tie-breaker. They could still catch Weyburn for 7th, and there’s still a possibility of a three-way tie for 6th. It does mean that a Wings’ regulation or overtime win over the Hounds Saturday would make Notre Dame will finish 8th.
The Bombers (22-25-3-5) don’t have 9th wrapped up just yet either, they’re four points up on Melville with three games left. Flin Flon also went 3-1-0-1 against Melville, so they have the tie-breaker.
Tyler Nyman (1g-1a) scored a third period powerplay goal which stood as the winner, as Flin Flon trailed 2-0 and 3-2 before coming back for the regulation victory. Calvon Boots (1g-1a) tied the game in the second period, while Ethan Daniels and Dylan Burton also scored, and Colten Lancaster made 36/39 saves.
Marshall Wilton and Chance Longjohn put the Hounds (27-24-1-4) up 2-0 in the first period, while Keigan Callander added his first SJHL goal in the second.
The Bombers cap a four game trip Saturday in Estevan, while the Hounds have that big head to head in Weyburn. 6th place Kindersley is off again Saturday.
The Weyburn Red Wings scored three times in the third period, including Ben Hiltz’s second of the period with 1:07 left, and the Red Wings came from behind to beat the Estevan Bruins 5-4, and stay very much alive in the race for 6th spot.
Weyburn (28-22-5-1) pulls to within a point of Kindersley for 6th, and both teams have two games left. The Wings host Notre Dame Saturday with the chance to make it a two-horse race.
Much like Hiltz did, Sean Olson scored twice for the Wings on Friday, with Tyran Brown chipping in a goal and an assist. Landon Walters and Cade Kowalski each had two helpers.
Kaelan Holt scored twice for the Bruins (31-19-3-2) to hit the 30-goal plateau. Zach Goberis added his 31st, and two assists while Jayden Davis (1g-1a) also found the net.
Estevan will finish 3rd and face the 6th place team in the Quarters, and that could still be their rivals from Weyburn.
The Battlefords North Stars still have a slim shot at top spot overall, thanks to a 2-1 shootout win over the visiting Humboldt Broncos.
Stars’ goalie Taryn Kotchorek made 26/27 saves, narrowly missing out on his 15th career shutout. Keith Anderson scored in regulation before MacGregor Sinclair, Layne Young and Brad Girard all scored in the shootout. Young added an assist on Anderson’s goal, extending his point streak to 13 games (10g-16a-26p). That’s his league-high 67th assist and 102nd point.
The Stars (40-12-2-0) picked up win number 40, and sit seven points back of Nipawin with four games left (Hawks have three remaining). One more Hawks win or Stars loss would clinch Nipawin the regular season pennant. They go head to head in their final game next Friday.
Drew Warkentine scored early in overtime and the Melfort Mustangs beat the Nipawin Hawks 5-4 (OT).
Tristen Elder and Reed Gunville each had a goal and an assist, with Tyler Heidt and Rock Ruschkowski also scoring. Evan Plotnik made 27/31 saves.
The Mustangs (38-12-4-2) are now an incredible 7-1-1-0 against Nipawin this season, including 4-1-0-0 on the road. The Hawks are 22-2-1-2 on home ice this season, with four of those five total losses coming at the hand of Melfort.
Brett Harasymuk, Austin Mikesch, Tyler Adams and Logan Casvant scored for the Hawks (41-7-3-4), while Thomas Lenchyshyn had three assists.
The two teams play their 10th and final meeting of the season on Saturday in Melfort. A Hawks’ win would lock up the #1 seed.
Back on Wednesday, Melville’s Damian Bentz and Clayton Eisler each scored their team-leading 19th goals of the season, just 21 seconds apart against Flin Flon. Fast forward to Friday, and the two each hit the 20-goal plateau, this time 3:05 apart, as the Millionaires beat the Yorkton Terriers 5-3 on home ice.
26 SJHL players now have 20 or more goals, but Eisler is the first defenseman. He’s got two more goals than Melfort’s Loch Morrison. Montana Streit, Daniel Liberty and Tyler Millar also scored for the Millionaires (22-29-2-2), and Brandon Wells made 23/26 saves. Melville is 5-0-2-0 in their last seven games, and remain four points back of Flin Flon for 9th place with three games left. They’ll close out their season series with the Terriers in Yorkton on Saturday.
Austen Flaman scored twice and Chantz Petruic added a goal and an assist for the Terriers (13-38-3-2) on Friday.