Shawn Parkinson made 23 saves for his second shutout in his last three starts, and third of the season, while Tian Rask had his biggest night as a Mustang, scoring three times and setting up the other in a 4-0 Melfort win in Nipawin.
Gabe Odowichuk also scored for the Mustangs (30-17-6-3) and Alex Rondeau had three helpers.
Melfort can now finish no lower than fifth in the standings, but with La Ronge and Yorkton both picking up Friday night wins, they weren’t able to gain any ground in front of them, but they still could finish as high as third.
Nipawin’s (30-23-3-1) loss, along with the clubs ahead of them all winning, means they can no longer finish any higher than sixth, and for the moment they’ve now dropped to seventh, with Estevan also winning Friday. The Hawks could still be anywhere between sixth and eighth.
Dalton Dosch made 30/34 saves in Friday’s loss. Nipawin wraps up their regular season Saturday night in Melfort.
The La Ronge Ice Wolves kept themselves in fourth spot, with a 4-3 home ice win over Flin Flon on Friday.
The Ice Wolves (32-19-3-3) remain a point up on Melfort for fourth place, and have just one game remaining, Saturday in Flin Flon, while the Mustangs still have two home games ahead of them, Saturday versus Nipawin and Monday against Melfort.
After Flin Flon opened the scoring, La Ronge potted four straight second period goals, from James Philpott, Spencer Kennedy (1g-1a), Chad McIlwain and Kyle Ford. Xavier Cannon made 33/36 saves in the win.
SJHL Rookie Of The Year Tristan Lemyre opened the scoring with his 30th goal of the season for the Bombers (36-14-6-0), while Dane Hirst and Zach Bannister added third period markers. Cal Schell made 31/35 saves for Flin Flon, who’ll finish second overall, and face either Nipawin, Estevan or Humboldt in round one.
Chantz Petruic scored at even strength, short-handed and on the powerplay for another hat trick, giving him 58 goals on the season with one game left to hit 60, and more importantly for the team, the Yorkton Terriers wrapped up home ice advantage in the SJHL Quarter-Finals with a 4-3 win over the Melville Millionaires.
The Terriers (35-19-2-1) can finish no worse than fourth, and they’ll stay in third with one more point or one Melfort loss. The Mustangs are four points back with two games left and would have the tie-breaker should they win both in regulation or overtime, and Yorkton loses in regulation on Saturday.
Evan Sare had Yorkton’s first goal, while Philippe Bond made 29/32 saves before leaving with an injury and Matthew Pesenti stopped all seven shots he faced in relief.
Zach McIntyre, Jake Spak and Luke Nkwama scored for the Millionaires (15-35-2-4), who’ve now dropped their last nine games. They’ll wrap up their home schedule Saturday against Yorkton, before their season finale Tuesday in Humboldt.
The Estevan Bruins are alone in sixth place in the overall standings and will finish no lower than seventh, after they beat the Weyburn Red Wings 4-1, for their fifth straight win, kicking off their regular season ending home and home.
Rookie Cody Davis scored twice and now has five goals in his last three games. Kade McMillen and Tyson Manz had the others and Randy Cooke needed just 13/14 saves to pick up the win.
The Bruins (31-22-3-1) sit two points up on Nipawin with each team having one game left, Estevan home to Weyburn and Nipawin in Melfort, both on Saturday. If Nipawin wins and Estevan loses in regulation, the Hawks would have the tie-breaker due to having the edge in regulation + overtime wins.
Joseph Young made 33/37 saves for the Red Wings (19-35-1-2) on Friday while Mathieu Belanger did the scoring. Weyburn has lost seven straight and close out their season Saturday in Estevan.
Friday’s only game that didn’t affect the playoff race for either team saw the league-leading Battlefords North Stars beat the visiting Kindersley Klippers 5-4.
SJHL Defenseman of the Year Matthew Fletcher led the charge with two goals and an assist for the North Stars (45-10-2-0). He’s now in a three way tie for the SJHL points lead among defensemen, with his teammate Seth Summers and Flin Flon’s Mason Martin. All three have 49 points.
Austin Becker (1g-1a), Ryland McNinch and Quinton Loon-Stewardson rounded out the scoring, with Kristian Lyon making 28/32 saves.
Scott McKenzie, Boston Maxwell, Ethan King and Liam Fraser picked up goals and Steven Bacovsky made 31/36 saves for the Klippers (23-27-6-1). Both teams finish off the regular season Saturday in Kindersley.