By Craig Stein
HOUNDS & RED WINGS FINISH NIGHT TIED FOR 6TH
The Nipawin Hawks are now alone in first place in the SJHL’s Sherwood Division, with four games left on their schedule.
That, after a 3-1 victory on home ice over the league leading Battlefords North Stars Friday night at The Cage, coupled with the Humboldt Broncos doing them a favour with a 3-2 win on the road in Flin Flon. The Hawks and Bombers entered play on Friday all tied at the top of the Sherwood.
The Hawks (37-14-2-1) and North Stars (45-9-1-0) were scoreless nearly midway through their game, before Thomas Lenchyshyn potted his first SJHL goal for the Hawks 9:15 into the second period.
Reed Delainey brought the Stars even just 1:22 into the third period, but the Hawks would tack on a pair, Josh Bly’s 20th would stand up as the winner, and Tanner Thompson added his 23rd to make the final 3-1 for Nipawin.
Kristian Stead turned away 33/34 shots for his 27th win of the season.
In Flin Flon, the Bombers jumped out to an early 2-0 lead over the Humboldt Broncos, as Rylee Zimmer got the Whitney Forum faithful excited at the 1:07 mark, and Kristian St. Onge extended the lead at 5:33, but Garrett Mason and the Broncos stifled the Bombers the rest of the way.
Connor Swystun, Trevor Posch and Michael Korol scored goals just over six minutes apart, all still in the first period, and the two teams were both held off the board over the final forty minutes after combining for five in the first.
Mason finished the night with 59 saves on 61 shots, as the Broncos won despite being outshot 61-24. Zac Robidoux made 21 saves for the Bombers.
Humboldt (28-24-1-1) won to avoid a three-way tie for fifth place, and really help their chances of staying in the top six. The Bombers (35-14-2-3), drop to fourth in the overall standings, and would play Humboldt in the Quarter-Final if the standings stayed the same. Flin Flon’s two points back of Nipawin, but do hold the tie-breaker versus the Hawks, having won six of their seven head to head meetings so far, so as long as they’re within two points of Nipawin going into their final head to head meeting next Tuesday, they’ll still control their own fate in that Sherwood Division.
The Bombers host Estevan on Saturday while Humboldt heads west to La Ronge.
Feb 25 vs Melfort
Mar 3 @ La Ronge
Mar 4 vs La Ronge
Mar 7 vs Nipawin
Feb 25 vs Estevan
Mar 3 vs Melfort
Mar 4 @ Melfort
Mar 7 @ Flin Flon
The Notre Dame Hounds started the night tied for the final top six spot with Yorkton, and finished the night tied for sixth, with Weyburn, after the Hounds and Wings both went to overtime in their respective games.
The Hounds (24-21-6-2) lost 2-1 in a shootout in Kindersley, so their single point broke their tie with Yorkton, while the win leaves the Klippers (25-28-3-0) still in 9th, but a little closer to the pack in front of them.
Klipper defenseman Josh Patrician scored the only goal of the shootout, while Carson Pickett scored a third period goal to force extra time. Nick Trenciansky made 33/34 saves and 3/3 in the shootout.
Chance Longjohn opened the scoring for Notre Dame late in the second period, and Benjamin Patt made 22/23 saves.
It was a wacky finish in Melville, where the Millionaires trailed 2-1 in the dying seconds before their captain Clayton Eisler scored with one second left, sending that one to overtime, before Weyburn’s Carson Rose scored the winner just 14 seconds in as the Red Wings edged the Millionaires 3-2 (OT).
That means Weyburn sits tied for 6th place with Notre Dame, while that single point is still a big one for Melville, as they’re now just three points back of Melfort for the 10th and final playoff spot.
Both teams (Melville/Melfort) have five games remaining.
Rose, Connor Burk and Jacob Wozney scored for the Red Wings (25-23-2-4), while Aaron Aragon got Melville on the board and Colby Entz made 29/32 saves for the Millionaires (20-30-3-0).
The Estevan Bruins kicked off a northern weekend road trip with a 6-2 victory in La Ronge.
The Bruins (34-16-2-1) could potentially still move up to the second overall seed, and now have points in four straight games (3-0-1). Their offense on Friday was almost limited to five players, who all had three point nights, as Kaelan Holt (2g-1a), Jason Miller (2g-1a), Jake Fletcher (1g-2a), Johnny Witzke (1g-2a) and Matt McNeil (3a) all filled the scoresheet.
Curtis Meger made 24/26 saves for the Bruins, who continue on to Nipawin on Saturday.
Brayden Dunn (1g-1a), Derek Patter (1g-1a) and Braden Isbister (2a) all had two points nights for the Ice Wolves (6-43-1-4).