The much-anticipated 2020-2021 SJHL regular season kicked off with five games on Friday night, nearly eight full months after the league Quarter-Finals were haulted mid-flight due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
The Nipawin Hawks got this started on the right foot with a 7-3 romp in La Ronge. Burke Simpson led the charge with a hat trick while Michael Makarenko added three assists. Josh Lester (1g-1a), Zach Falck, Carter Stebbings and Brody Wilson added the others. Ross Hawryluk picked up the win stopping 28/31 shots. Nipawin led 4-0 after the first period and 6-1 after two.
Holden Knights got the Ice Wolves on the board in the second period, before a pair of defensemen, Nolan Allan and Kaiden Collumb chipped in in the third. Xavier Cannon played the final two periods in goal, making 35/38 shots in forty minutes.
The Hawks host the rematch on Saturday.
Much like Nipawin did, the Humboldt Broncos opened the season on the road, and opened the offensive floodgates with a 7-4 win in Yorkton, in an opening night meeting between a pair of clubs expected to have big years.
Tristan Shewchuk and Logan Kurki followed up great exhibition showings with two goals each on opening night. Shewchuk finished with two goals and two assists. Newcomer Stephane Huard Jr (2002-Blaineville, QB) added a goal and two assists, while Luke Spadafora and Carson Schultz also scored. The Broncos were outshot 43-34, with Tanner Marshall getting the opening night start, making 39/43 saves in the win.
Carson Miller scored twice for the Terriers, with Brett Kemp (1g-1a) and Ryan Ries adding singles.
The Kindersley Klippers scored on their only two powerplays, and were a perfect 6-for-6 on the penalty, riding their special teams to a 5-2 win over visiting Battlefords.
Eric Sorensen and Logan Linklater each had a goal and assist, with Alaister Standen, Hunter Larocque and Kyle Ford also scoring in Coach/GM Ken Plaquin’s regular season debut with the Klippers. Matthew Pesenti turned aside 28/30 shots in the victory.
Ty Bahm and Riley Little responded for the North Stars.
Cole Fonstad scored a goal in his SJHL debut with his hometown Estevan Bruins as a 15-year-old AP, five years ago. Since then he’s racked up 247-points in four full WHL seasons, including a WHL title in Prince Albert two years ago. Five years later he’s back, on loan from the Everett Silvertips, and he scored twice and added an assist, leading the Bruins to a 4-3 win in Melville on opening night.
Ryder Pierson and Nolan Jones also hit the net, with Emerik Demers winning in his debut with a 25/28 save performance.
Reece Newkirk scored twice for Melville. The 5th round New York Islanders pick is on loan from Portland where he put up 65-points last season. Jonathan Krahn also scored and Kaleb McEachern made 35/39 stops.
Joel Favreau followed up his strong Pre-Season, as the new Melfort Mustangs’ goalie made 31 saves in 32 shots backstopping his club to a 3-1 win over the visiting Flin Flon Bombers.
Ethan Regnier (1g-1a), Cameron Rimstad and Colton Schell picked up the Melfort goals. Brad Ginnell scored for the Bombers with Cal Schell making 25/28 saves.
All five matchups finish up home-and-home sets on Saturday, which, of course is the theme for the bulk of this season’s schedule. Weyburn and Notre Dame were off on Friday but hook up for a Saturday/Sunday home-and-home.