By Craig Stein
TOP SEEDS TAKE CARE OF BUSINESS EARLY
(Hawks-Broncos photo credit: Clark Stork)
Zach Goberis scored just 42 seconds into overtime, and the Estevan Bruins were the first overtime winners of the 2017 Canalta Cup Playoffs, as they edged the Yorkton Terriers 2-1 (OT) in Game 1 of their Best-of-Seven Quarter-Final series.
The Bruins led 1-0 on a Matt McNeil powerplay goal, and it stayed that way until there was just 1:04 left in regulation, when Jared Legien got the Terriers on the board and forced extra time.
The Goberis goal was the only shot on goal in overtime, as the Bruins held a 35-30 edge in that department on the night. Nathan Alalouf made 29/30 saves in the win while Nathan Hargrave stopped 33/35.
The Battlefords North Stars built a 4-1 lead, and were able to hang on for a 4-3 win over the Weyburn Red Wings in Game 1 of that series.
The Stars, coming off a 48-win regular season as the league’s top seed, got a pair of goals from Ben Allen and three assists from Layne Young. Keaton Holinaty and Troy Gerein also scored and Taryn Kotchorek made 26/29 saves.
Aidan Wagner, Connor Burk (1g-1a) and Tyran Brown (1g-1a) scored for the Red Wings. Jake McLennan made 18/22 saves ror Weyburn and then 16-year-old Cody Levesque stopped 16/16 shots in his first SJHL action. Levesque played ‘AAA’ Midget with the Swift Current Legionnaires this season.
The Flin Flon Bombers also drew first blood on home ice as they picked up a 4-1 victory over visiting Notre Dame.
Two time Defenseman Of The Year Eric Sinclair led the way with a goal and two assists. Kristian St. Onge (1g-1a), Jason Lavallee and Brandon Lesko also scored and Zac Robidoux made 21/22 saves.
Nick Rein opened the scoring for the Hounds, and Benjamin Patt stopped 33/37 shots.
Home ice advantage was also the case in Nipawin where the Hawks rolled to a series opening 4-1 win over Humboldt.
Josh Bly (1g-1a) and Michael Grant had the Hawks up 2-0 after the first period. Michael Korol cut the lead in half for the Broncos midway through the second, but the Hawks’ Keegan Milligan and Daven Smith would tack on two more as the Hawks finished 2/7 on the powerplay.
League MVP and Goalie Of The Year Kristian Stead turned away 23/24 shots in the series opener, while Garrett Mason was busy at the other end, making 47/51 saves.
All four series go again Saturday with Game 2. Flin Flon and Battlefords stay at home, and with the closer proximity, Estevan and Nipawin will both head on the road.