By Craig Stein
DIVISION LEADERS ALL PICK UP WINS
Another night, another win for the Nipawin Hawks, who made it 13 straight victories Friday night, with a 4-3 decision in Kindersley.
Tanner Thompson scored twice for the Hawks (33-12-2-1), giving him 20 on the season. Keillan Olson and Michael Grant each added a goal and an assist, and Declan Hobbs made 35/38 saves in the win.
Nipawin remains two points back of Flin Flon, with two games in hand in the race for the Sherwood pennant.
Cody Hodgson (1g-1a), Cole Plotnikoff and Jake Gerbner did the scoring for the Klippers (23-25-1-0), who have now dropped back to back games after a seven game winning streak.
The Hawks matched have matched Battlefords for the longest winning streak this season (13), and will look to break this year’s single season record on Saturday, but they’ll have to do it against those league-leading North Stars in their house.
The most intriguing division race down the stretch is of course that of the Sherwood, where the Flin Flon Bombers have watched a double digit lead nearly evaporate, but only because Nipawin refuses to lose and had at one point 5-6 games in hand.
The Bombers have been red hot as well, not far off Nipawin’s pace over the last month and after a modest two game slide, they bounced back with an 11-0 thumping of La Ronge at the Whitney Forum on Friday.
Flin Flon (33-12-2-3) put 79 shots on goal including 33 in the second period when they scored seven. Brandon Lesko (3g-2a), Jason Lavallee (1g-3a), and Eric Sinclair (1g-2a) led the way offensively, and Brenden Newton made 18 saves for his third shutout this season.
The two teams meet again Saturday in La Ronge (6-38-1-4).
Taryn Kotchorek of the Battlefords North Stars also picked up a shutout on Friday, his fourth of the season, making 23 saves as the Stars won their fourth straight, 3-0 over Melfort.
Ryan Rosenberg, Keaton Holinaty and Owen Lamb did the scoring for the North Stars (41-8-1-0).
The Mustangs (19-25-2-4) dropped their eighth in a row. Evan Plotnik made 32/34 saves.
The Yorkton Terriers went into Melville on Friday and picked up a 3-1 win over the Millionaires to kick off a weekend home and home.
The win puts the Terriers (22-25-4-0) into an 7th place tie with Notre Dame, just one point back of Weyburn for 6th place.
Jared Legien scored back to back second period goals, after a scoreless first to get the Terriers out in front. Shane Sherban capped a three goal second period for Yorkton and Nathan Hargrave made 22/23 saves in the win.
Defenseman Eric Soar replied for the Millionaires (17-28-2-0) and Colby Entz made 24/27 saves.
The Estevan Bruins moved 14 points clear of Weyburn for the Viterra Division lead with a 3-2 win over the Red Wings>
The Bruins (31-15-0-1) were up 2-0 early, as Hayden Guilderson and Jake Fletcher scored goals 1:06 apart less than six minutes into the game. Jason Miller’s 21st of the season in the second period would stand as the winner and Nathan Alalouf made 37/39 saves.
Carter Phair turned away 26/29 shots for the Red Wings (22-23-1-4), while Braden Mellon and Erik Olson picked up the goals. Weyburn clings to the final top six spot, with two teams (Yorkton/Notre Dame) a point back and three teams two points or less behind them.