By Craig Stein
ESTEVAN ALSO LOCKS UP DIVISION
For a second straight year, the Battlefords North Stars will raise the regular season pennant as the number one seed in the SJHL. The North Stars (43-8-1-0) will hold home ice advantage for as long as they’re in the playoffs, and made that official with Friday night’s 2-1 victory in Melfort.
Evan Plotnik did about all he could do in goal for the Mustangs (20-26-2-4), making 41/43 saves.
Connor Logan and Jared Blaquiere each had a goal and an assist and Taryn Kotchorek made 15/16 saves in the win.
Reed Gunville scored the only goal for the Mustangs, who remain eight points up on Melville for the final playoff spot.
The Estevan Bruins joined the North Stars in their clinching mood on Friday, as the Bruins beat the visiting La Ronge Ice Wolves 8-3 to wrap up the Viterra Division title.
Estevan (32-16-1-1) will take either the 2nd or 3rd seed in the playoffs, as they’re six points back of Nipawin and Flin Flon who now share the lead in the Sherwood.
Michael McChesney led the Bruins Friday with a goal and three assists. Zach Goberis and Jason Miller each had a goal and two helpers while Jake Fletcher scored twice. Jayden David (1g-1a), Matt McNeil and Preston Brodziak added the rest and Curtis Meger made 26/29 saves.
Trevor Bush, Kent Hanson and Derek Frater got on the board for the Ice Wolves (6-41-1-4), who finish up a road trip Saturday in Weyburn.
The Nipawin Hawks have clawed all the way into a tie for the Sherwood Division lead with Flin Flon, after a 4-1 win in Humboldt.
The Hawks are now winners of 15 of their last 16, and have 73 points and will break that tie with the Bombers when they host them on Saturday night. Nipawin (35-13-2-1) also has a game in hand.
Kristian Stead made 27/28 saves, fresh off his commitment to Alaska-Anchorage (NCAA Div I). Eric Bolden and Josh Bly each had a goal and an assist while Grant Baetsen and Tanner Thompson chipped in the others.
Logan Schatz spoiled Stead’s shutout bid with just over eight minute left to play. Humboldt (27-23-0-1) is now just two points up on Yorkton for the fifth overall spot.
Riley Higdon made 24 saves for his first career SJHL shutout and the Notre Dame Hounds blanked the Melville Millionaires 5-0.
The Hounds, somewhat quietly, have won five in a row and have vaulted up the standings, going from a borderline question mark to hold on to a playoff spot a couple short weeks ago, to having a real possibility of finishing top six.
Notre Dame (23-21-5-1) is within one point of Yorkton for sixth overall.
Defenseman Nick Rein put up a goal and two assists in the win over Melville. Brandon Sookro (1g-1a), Colby Brandt (1g-1a), Adam Dawe and Riley Mohr also found the net.
The Millionaires (18-30-2-0) still have eight games remaining but are still eight points back of Melfort for a playoff spot.
The Kindersley Klippers and Yorkton Terriers went to overtime for the second time this week, and the Klippers got the upper hand this time with a 5-4 (OT) decision.
Cole Plotnikoff (2g-1a) tied the game with 28 seconds left, setting the stage for defenseman Holden Daley’s overtime winner, 1:46 into the extra frame. Brandon Wagner and Carson Pickett added the other goals.
Jared Legien (1g-1a), Dakota Odgers (1g-1a), Evan Werle (1g-1a) and Tyler Baier replied for the Terriers.
The single point kept the Terriers (24-25-5-0) one point ahead of Notre Dame for sixth place overall. The Klippers (24-27-2-0) are still 9th place, but one point out of 8th, two out of 7th and three out of 6th. They’ll finish their four game road trip Saturday in Melville.