Andrew Hunt scored 10:05 into overtime and the Melfort Mustangs beat the Estevan Bruins 2-1 (OT) on Tuesday night, taking a 2-1 series lead in their Best-of-Seven SJHL Quarter-Final series.
Melfort out-shot Estevan 14-4 in overtime, and 42-28 on the night, with Bruins’ goalie Keenan Rancier coming up huge on multiple quality scoring chances in the extra frame. Vaclav Prospal scored in regulation for Melfort, and also set up Hunt’s winner. Hunt and Prospal, both defensemen, both scored once during the regular season, albeit in limited duty, both appearing in less than 20 games as mid-season pickups.
Shawn Parkinson made 27/28 saves in the win, and has given up just five goals in three playoff games. More than the zero he surrendered in his final three regular season games, but his 1.59 GAA in the post-season gives the Mustangs a chance win win every night.
Rancier made 40/42 saves in the loss, and the Bruins held a 1-0 with just over four minutes left in regulation. Jayden Davis got them on the board late in the second period.
Chantz Petruic, Keenan & Kaeden Taphorn all had two goals and an assist, powering the Yorkton Terriers to a 6-5 win in La Ronge Tuesday, giving the Terriers their first lead of that series, two games to one.
The Ice Wolves led 3-1 early in the second period, and eventually trailed 5-3 and 6-4 before getting to within a goal late.
Petruic scored two of the first three Terrier goals, giving him five through three games this series, while the Taphorn twins combined for all three Yorkton markers in the third period. Defenseman Zach Ziegler had three assists, one in each period, and Matthew Pesenti made 41/46 saves.
Spencer Kennedy notched two goals and an assist, for the Ice Wolves, while Grant Longtin scored his third in as many games, Chad McIlwain hit the net, and Booker Chacalias cut it to 6-5 late in the third, as La Ronge scored three powerplay goals.
The Ice Wolves and Bruins now find themselves in near-must-win territory as they host Game 4 on Wednesday, down 2-1 and heading back on the road for Game 5 on Friday.
The defending champs are a win away from moving on to round two, as the Battlefords North Stars went into Nipawin and doubled up the Hawks 4-2, taking a 3-0 series lead.
Matthew Fletcher and Steven Kesslering had the Stars up 2-0 around the midway point of the game, but the Hawks bounced back and erased the deficit before the second period was up, on goals from Brodie Girod and Evan Bortis.
Period three saw Ben Hiltz (1g-1a) scored the eventual winner at 13:41 before Elijah Loon-Stewardson added a late empty-netter.
Kristian Lyon made 23/25 saves in his third straight playoff win, while Ross Hawryluk turned away 27 of 30 at the other end.
Cole Rafuse racked up another two goals and two assists and the Flin Flon Bombers grabbed a 3-0 stranglehold over Humboldt with a 6-1 decision.
Rafuse has six goals and 11-points through just three playoff games. Dane Hirst and Tristan Lemyre each had a goal and two assists, while Donavan Houle-Villeneuve and Easton Haygarth had the others. Jacob Delorme turned away 29 of the 30 shots he faced to pick up the win.
Doug Scott provided the only goal for the Broncos, a powerplay marker late in the second period.
The Stars and Bombers will both go for series sweeps on the road on Wednesday night. For interest sake, if they both go on to finish them off and the teams with 2-1 series lead also go on to win, the Semi-Finals would have Battlefords up against Yorkton, and Flin Flon taking on divisional rival Melfort – but there’s still likely plenty of first round action still to come.