Saskatchewan Junior Hockey League

Mustangs edge Canucks to head to Centennial Final

(Photo credit to Heather Pollock/Hockey Canada)

(Article courtesy Ben Tompkins/northeastNOW)

A trip to the national championship game was on the line and the Melfort Mustangs did not disappoint Saturday night.

The team defeated the Calgary Canucks 2-1 at the Centennial Cup in Oakville, Ont. to earn a spot in the championship game Sunday.

“Kudos to Calgary, they have a good team that’s fast and skilled, but we played our SJHL identity, and no one can stop us when we do that. We play hard, gritty, good in the D zone and we got rewarded for it,” explained assistant coach, Tye Scherger.

Offensive D-man Chase Friedt-Mohr put the Mustangs on the board at 4:05 in the first period with a power play goal assisted by Logan Belton and Ryan Duguay. The Canucks scored to tie the game just a few minutes later.

About midway through the second period, Ryan Duguay put a large contingent of Mustangs fans into a frenzy. He scored off an assist by Clay Sleeva in what turned out to be the game-winning goal.

The Mustangs will face the Collingwood Blues of the Ontario Junior Hockey League (OJHL) in the final at 3 p.m. EDT which is 1 p.m. CST in Saskatchewan.

“Melfort get up, that’s all I can say, we’re going to the National Finals, what a hell of a team. Through thick and thin all season, this is exactly what we’ve been wanting and they deserve nothing more than to be in the nationals finals,” Scherger added.

“Collingwood is very fast and skilled, and we can’t be taking penalties because I believe their powerplay was the best. We have to play simple and hard, keep being heavy and playing our identity, and hopefully, wear them down.”

James Venne stopped 27 of 28, as he and Duguay were two of the three stars on the night.

Centennial Cup: Day 9 recap

Saturday, May 18, 2024

Collingwood Blues 5, Miramichi Timberwolves 2

Cameron Eke (St. Catherines, ON) registered four assists in the win for Collingwood.
Jack Rimmer (Toronto, ON) scored twice.
Calum Chau (Oakville, ON) chipped in with two assists.
Ludovic Dufort (Laval, QC) and Elliot Robert (Trois-Rivières, QC) replied with goals for Miramichi.

Melfort Mustangs 2, Calgary Canucks 1

James Venne (Saskatoon, SK) turned in a 27 save performance for Melfort.
Ryan Duguay (Edmonton, AB) and Chase Friedt-Mohr (Prince Albert, SK) scored for Melfort.
Ty Hipkin (High River, AB) had the lone goal for Calgary.
Julian Molinaro (Mississauga, ON) made 22 saves.

Next Game – Championship Game (Sunday, May 19)

Melfort Mustangs vs. Collingwood Blues – 3 p.m. ET/12 p.m. PT


“I think it’s the culture we’ve built in our room. We all love each other, we’re one big family and every time we get out on the ice, we want to do everything to get the win. I think just buying in and everyone playing their role has been huge for us so far. This really means everything for us. It’s been our goal all year to make it to the final and we’ll be excited to go. It’s our first time playing in a national championship … a once in a lifetime opportunity and we have to give it our all tomorrow.”

Eke on how his team has found success this season

“We were kind of looked at like the underdogs coming into this tournament, we had the resilience and character in our team and kept making strides forward. We took it one game at a time and got the results up to this point. The guys believed in each other—it was about buying into the teamwork and we just have a really special group in the locker room. It’s a great accomplishment for our team to be here, we’re from a town of 18,000 people and come from basically nothing. They just bought in. It’s great for our organization, our city and this was something great to be a part of.”

Miramichi Timberwolves head coach Kory Baker on his team’s performance throughout the tournament

“It was just a great effort. We’ve gotten better every day and with every game, and tonight was our best effort—it had to be. You have to give a lot of credit to Calgary; they played a hard game and it was a close game with a bounce here or there that could have gone another way. Obviously, they had a wide-open chance at the end, but we’re very proud of our group and how they’ve handled themselves to get to this position.

“He’s been rock-solid for us and maybe he hasn’t had the best tournament thus far with stats and numbers, but he makes saves at the right time. He’s a competitor. Sometimes it’s not about how many saves you make, it’s about the timely ones. Tonight was a perfect example of how he locked it down in the third period. He’s been huge for us in key points and his play doesn’t surprise me.”

Melfort head coach and general manager Trevor Blevins on his team’s effort and the play of Venne