Saskatchewan Junior Hockey League

Mustangs outlast Flyers in epic shootout win

(Photo credit to Heather Pollock/Hockey Canada)

OAKVILLE, ON – That was nuts.

It took a shootout that ended with a James Venne save and the Melfort Mustangs held off a furious Winkler Flyers rally to take Game 2 of the Centennial Cup 6-5 Saturday afternoon.

The SJHL champions found themselves down 2-0 20 minutes in after two power-play goals against, but as they have done throughout the campaign, stormed back with three of their own in the middle frame.

Aidyn Hutchinson extended his goal-scoring streak to six games stretching back to Game 3 of the SJHL Final, and made it 5-3 Melfort at the 12:11 mark of the final frame.

Manitoba’s champions would not go away, however, as they got one on a power-play one-timer with just under six minutes remaining, and then tied it on a goal-mouth scramble with 22 seconds left on the clock.

Clay Sleeva and Ryan Duguay counted in the shootout, while North Dakota commit Dalton Andrew became the first player this year to score on Venne on a penalty shot. The Saskatoon-native goaltender was 8-of-8 before that but made the save on Zach Nicholas to close out the win on Winkler’s fifth shot.

After two games, the Mustangs improved to 2-0 at the tournament, and sit alone in first place in Group B.

Find the full Centennial Cup standings here.

Find the full Centennial Cup schedule here.

Centennial Cup: Day 3 recap

Saturday, May 11, 2024

Melfort Mustangs 6, Winkler Flyers 5 (SO)           

Dalton Andrew (Brandon, MB), Connor Jensen (Spokane, WA) and Zach Nicolas (Winnipeg, MB) all registered a goal and two assists.
Chase Friedt-Mohr (Prince Albert, SK) had a goal and an assist for Melfort.
Ryan Duguay (Edmonton, AB) scored the shootout winner for the Mustangs.

Calgary Canucks 5, Collège Français de Longueuil 1

Cody Pisarczyk (Airdrie, AB) scored twice for Calgary.
Julien Gervais (Windsor, ON) and Adam Leitch (Maple Ridge, BC) tallied three assists each for the Canucks.
Thomas Bourbonnais (Longueuil, QC) scored the lone goal for Collège Français.

Oakville Blades 5, Sioux Lookout Bombers 2

Ken Belanger (Sault Ste. Marie, ON) and Maxwell Donohoe (Oakville, ON) had a goal and an assist each for Oakville.
Noah Tyrrell (Chicago, IL) had three assists for the Blades.
Owen Cotter (Welland, ON) had two assists in the Bombers’ loss.
Jack Osmond (Edmonton, AB) stopped 41 of the 46 shots he faced.

Next Games (Sunday, May 12):

Navan Grads vs. Greater Sudbury Cubs – 4 p.m. ET/1 p.m. PT

Sioux Lookout Bombers vs. Miramichi Timberwolves – 7:30 pm. ET/4:30 p.m. PT


“It was a slow start for us, it wasn’t really Mustang hockey. Our coach gave us a good speech after the first period. We know how we play and we finally got around to remembering what our identity is and playing our game. We battled through adversity all year and we got the job done in the shootout. With the Saskatchewan-Manitoba rivalry, you know there’s always going to be a little more physicality than when we play other teams. That’s what the hockey is all about, I guess. It’s fun hockey and it’s nice to get the win.”

Mustang forward Clay Sleeva (Canora, SK) on battling through adversity and beating their rivals

“We’re feeling good as a team. Our first game (against Collingwood) was a tough loss, but everyone hasn’t been here before. You just use that first game to get your feet wet, learn from it and use what we learned to try and get the win today.

Pisarczyk on Calgary’s first win

“We knew it was going to be tough to get our first win, we haven’t played in about seven weeks, but it feels great to play a good game and get rewarded. I thought we had a good response today—we had kept our foot on the gas, which was our problem yesterday. We had good spurts but today we played a more consistent game.”

Donohoe (Oakville, ON) on Oakville’s first win

Photo: Hockey Canada Images