By Craig Stein
A big part of the New Year’s Eve / New Year’s Day SJHL weekend schedule saw the two teams currently on the outside of the playoff picture, Yorkton and La Ronge, play home and home sets with their rivals, who each happen to occupy the final two playoff spots, in Melville and Flin Flon.
The Ice Wolves failed to pick up any ground on the Bombers, and Flin Flon swept the pair, capping it with a 7-3 decision New Year’s Eve in La Ronge.
Rob Johnson led the Bombers with a goal and three assists, while Nick Shumlanski and Chrystopher Collin each had a goal and two assists. Ethan Daniels (1g-1a), Calvon Boots (1g-1a), Nate Hooper (1g-1a) and Daylan Marchi also scored and Brenden Newton made 26/29 saves.
Tanner Brewster, Connor Smith and Navarro Lane replied for the Ice Wolves (7-25-0-2).
The Bombers open 2018 tied for 9th place overall with Melville, with three games in hand, with a record of 12-18-1-3.
The Yorkton Terriers didn’t fall any further back of Melville, as they responded from Saturday’s loss in Melville, with a 4-3 win on home ice on New Year’s Day Monday.
Melville led 2-0 after the first period, and 3-2 after two, before Cody Bruchkowski scored twice in the third period for the Terriers, leading them to victory.
Kyle Sargent and Cole Keenleyside scored second period goals and Ben Laidlaw made 36/39 saves in goal for the Terriers (8-24-2-1).
Just like they were before Christmas, the Terriers are 9 points back of Melville for the final playoff spot.
Damian Bentz, Ethan Kopycyzn and Tucker Chapman responded for the Millionaires (13-22-0-2).
The Estevan Bruins finished off a home and home sweep over Weyburn on New Year’s Day, widening their Viterra Division lead over the Red Wings from two points to six in the process.
Tanner Manz scored twice to lead the Bruins (22-12-2-1) to a 5-2 decision at home on Monday.
Jake Fletcher added a goal and an assist while Hayden Guilderson and Kaelan Holt also scored. Bo Didur picked up the win once again, turning away 28 of the 30 shots he faced.
Landon Walters and Cade Kowalski had the goals for the Red Wings (19-13-3-0).
After a quick start to the 2018 schedule, the league is off again until Friday, when a busy weekend kicks off with five games.