By Craig Stein
Wings Move Into Sixth Place Tie
Partway through each third period, it looked like the SJHL could end the night with a tie at the top of the standings, but things changed quickly, as Nipawin came back late to beat Flin Flon, and Battleford lost a third period lead to Melfort.
The Hawks, coming off back to back losses after a 30-game regulation unbeaten streak, were down 2-1 in Flin Flon with less than five minutes remaining, when their powerplay struck twice 42 seconds apart and they beat the Bombers 3-2.
Josh McDougall and Brandon Arnold each scored the late goals, with McDougall finishing with a goal and two assists (16g-51a-67p) and Arnold had 1g-1a. Brett Harasymuk also scored and Declan Hobbs made 30/32 saves.
The Hawks (39-7-2-4) are now four points up on Battlefords for the league lead, and have a game in hand (Hawks have six remaining).
Brandson Hein (1g-1a) and Ben Lanfermann scored for the Bombers (20-24-3-4). Nate Hooper had two assists and Brendan Newton made 27/30 saves.
Ben Allen (1g-1a) and Colin Schmidt scored third period goals, and the Melfort Mustangs came back to defeat the Battlefords North Stars 4-3.
Andrew Thompson (1g-1a) and Rock Ruschkowski also found the net for the Mustangs (36-12-4-1), who further cemented their fourth place finish, remaining 8 points up on Humboldt, and 7 points behind Nipawin for the Sherwood lead. Melfort has five games left.
Cole Johnson (1g-1a), Brad Girard and Owen Lamb scored for the North Stars (39-12-2-0). Layne Young added one assist for his 101st point of the season (35g-66a).
The Weyburn Red Wings trailed 4-1 with less than 10 minutes to play, and stormed back to force overtime before falling 5-4 in a shootout to the Estevan Bruins.
The loss nearly puts the Viterra Division pennant out of reach for the Red Wings (27-22-4-1), as they’re now six points back of Estevan with four games left, but the single point lifted them into a tie for 6th place overall with Notre Dame.
Weyburn and Notre Dame each have 59 points, with the Hounds having a game in hand.
Estevan (30-18-3-2) now just needs one more win or one more Weyburn loss in regulation to clinch the Viterra Division and third place overall.
Zach Goberis notched his 30th goal of the season for the Bruins on Friday. Jake Tesarowski, TJ Irey and Jerzy Martin also scored and Matt Lukacs made 28/32 saves.
Jessie Young (1g-1a), Ben Hiltz (1g-1a), Connor Pyne and Cade Kowalski hit the net for Weyburn. Arik Weersink made 42/46 stops.
Estevan has Saturday off while Weyburn is home to Melville, and they’ll watch the out of town scoreboard as well, as Notre Dame travels to Melfort.
The Kindersley Klippers won their third straight game and crept a little closer to a top six position as they shutout the Yorkton Terriers 7-0 in the first of back to back games between those two.
The Klippers (25-20-4-3) are keeping it a three-horse race for sixth place, as they’re now two points back of both Weyburn and Notre Dame. They have a game in hand on the Hounds, and two in hand on the Wings.
Tanner Thompson and Austin Nault scored twice each in Friday’s win. Nikolas Malenica picked up his second straight three point game with a goal and two assists, and now has 13 points (4g-9a) during an eight game point streak. Curtis Peck and Eddie May also scored and Justen Close made 27 saves for his third shutout this season.
The Klippers host the Terriers (12-36-3-2) once again on Saturday. A win, coupled with Weyburn and Notre Dame losses on Saturday would lead to a three way tie for 6th.
Also on Saturday the Humboldt Broncos rolled to a 7-3 win in La Ronge, their first game of a back to back at the Mel Hegland.
Full stats were unavailable Friday night as there were issues with online scoring, but that improves the Broncos’ record to 32-17-3-2 with four games remaining. They’re all but locked into 5th place and a Quarter-Final date with Melfort.
La Ronge drops to 10-41-0-3 on the season.