During the first month of the regular season the Yorkton Terriers were scrapping together a win here and there thanks largely to the incredible numbers being put up by veteran forward Chantz Petruic.
The Viterra Division was definitely the weak sister in the league, but once goaltender Ryan Ouellette returned to the team after starting the season with the Minnesota Wilderness of the North American Hockey League the Terriers started to make a move and at the half-way point of the regular schedule they have a wide margin in the divisional race and are among the top five in the entire league.
The 19-year-old from Colorado Springs, Colo., had appeared in more than half of the Terriers’ games last year posting a 3.72 goals-against average and .910 save percentage, but those numbers are being obliterated this season as the 6-foot-0, 180-pound Ouellette has a 1.88 GAA and .951 save percentage in the first 10 games he has played in since returning to the line-up.
Ouellette had helped Yorkton go 8-1-0-1 in his appearances including a win and overtime loss against the league’s top team, the Battlefords North Stars.
While his numbers last year were respectable, the turnaround in his play started in the post-season when he appeared in every playoff game posting a 2.91 GAA and .921 save percentage. His short stint in Minnesota at the start of this year also saw his GAA improve to 2.71 in six games.
Prior to coming north of the border last year, Ouellette spent three seasons with the Colorado Rampage, a development program in his hometown. As is normally the case his numbers improved every year as he went from a 3.34 GAA as a 15-year-old to 2.35 in his final year with the program.
The Terriers will need the continued play from Ouellette in their end to complement the scoring prowess being turned in by Petruic up front and if that happens Yorkton could make a big move in the second half.