By Mike Stackhouse
Zach Anderson, who scored five goals all year last season, scored four times in game one to lead the Melfort Mustangs to an 8-4 win over the Notre Dame Hounds in the season opener for both teams. 1111 saw the game at Northern Lights Palace on a night where Justin Ball was overshadowed despite getting a hat trick. Zack Smith had the other Mustang goal. Noah Bankowski, who had only three points all of last season, scored once and set up two others for the Hounds. Bankowski is poised for a breakout year and has drawn rave reviews from new bench boss Phil Roy during the preseason. Jared Hamm and sharp shooting rookie Nolan Renwick each had a goal and an assist. Tim Gould, a welcome late addition to the club for another season, also scored for the Hounds.
Estevan blew a 3-0 lead and came back from being down 4-3 to defeat the Melville Millionaires 7-4 with 1103 on hand to see the Bruins’ home opener. Defenseman Johnny Witzke and Turner Ripplinger each scored a pair for the Bruins, who chased Colby Entz before the game was eight minutes old. Ryan Butler got Melville back in it with two goals and one assist over a five minute span in the second. But, the Bruins came back to take the lead again as TJ Irey and George Cathers connected just over two minutes apart in the latter stages of the second. Michael McChesney had Estevan’s other goal. Jaden Shewchuk and Aidan Steinke also scored for the Mils.
Nate Hooper, Brandson Hein, and Donavan Houle combined for nine points as the Flin Flon Bombers won for the second night in a row over the La Ronge Ice Wolves, taking an 8-5 decision in front of 1436 at the Whitney Forum. Houle scored twice in the first five minutes of the third to bust open a 3-2 game. The Bombers led by as much as 7-3 in the late going before Antonio DiPaolo and Jordan Mish counted goals 27 seconds apart to make it close. Caleb Moretz’s second of the game rounded out the scoring. Houle and Hooper both ended the evening with two as well. Hein had four assists and now has 7 points in 2 games. Blueliner Calvon Boots had three assists for the second straight game. Single goals came from Daylan Marchi and Alec Cokley. Jake Gudjonson, Zach Bannister, and Tanner Brewster also scored for La Ronge. Bannister is off to a solid start with 2-goals and 2-assists in 2-games.
Justen Close made 32-saves and took home first star honors as Kindersley completed the home and home sweep against Battlefords, winning 3-2, much to the delight of 860 at the West Central Events Centre. Caden Benson scored the eventual winner, making it 3-1 with five minutes to go. Josh Fletcher and Tyler Traptow also scored for the Klippers. MacGregor Sinclair and Ryan Gil countered for the North Stars, who will be happy to see someone else in goal as an opponent as Close allowed just three goals the entire weekend, two of which came from Gil.