By Craig Stein
BALL HITS 100 POINTS AS MUSTANGS WIN 9TH STRAIGHT, CLINCH TOP 6 SPOT
The Melfort Mustangs are red hot at the right time as they won their ninth straight game Saturday night, 6-3 over the also-surging Kindersley Klippers.
Justin Ball scored his 52nd goal of the season and added three assists, giving him an even 100 points on the year, as the Mustangs (35-15-4-0) locked up a spot in the top six.
Carson Albrecht added a goal and two assists, and his 84 points are now second to Ball in the league. Colin Schmidt (1g-1a), Zack Smith (1g-1a), Jake Hobson and Colton Schell also found the net while Shawn Parkinson made 24/27 saves.
Devon Cyr had a goal and an assist for the Klippers (34-15-3-2) while Tyler Traptow and Will Van der Sloot also scored. Kindersley led 2-1 after the first period but Melfort scored five straight in the second.
Melfort’s 74 points has them in fourth place overall, two points up on Humboldt and Battlefords. Kindersley’s 73 points has them in first place in the Global Ag Risk Solutions Division, second place overall, one point up on Humboldt and Battlefords for that division lead.
Kindersley rounds out their three game weekend trip in Humboldt Sunday at 3:00. Melfort’s off until Tuesday when they visit Notre Dame, looking for 10 straight wins.
While Battlefords and Estevan aren’t really battling each other for position in the standings, their game last night was a pivotal one as the Stars are looking for at least a top six spot, while the Bruins were hoping to fend off Yorkton in the Viterra Division pennant race.
They both took a step toward those goals as they went to a shootout with the Stars winning 3-2 (SO).
The North Stars (31-13-5-5) are now seven points up on seventh place Flin Flon, with the Bombers having four games remaining, and anything is still possible in front of them, as they’re now tied for fifth overall and second in the division with Humboldt, one point back of Kindersley.
Joel Gryzbowski made 32/34 saves and was a perfect 5/5 in the shootout, while Ryan Gil and Austin Becker did the scoring. Owen Lamb potted the winner in the fifth round of the shootout.
The Bruins (30-22-2-2) of course would have loved two points, but even the single was a big one as they move five points up on Yorkton for the Viterra Division lead. Yorkton has a game in hand, and three games left, so one more Bruin win or Terrier loss will lock up the Division and third seed for Estevan.
Jayden Davis and Eddie Gallagher scored for the Bruins, who held a 2-1 lead after two periods before Gil forced overtime for the Stars, scoring with just 33 second left in regulation.
The Stars wrap up their three game swing in Notre Dame Sunday night. A win could have them in a share of the division lead, as Kindersley’s also in Humboldt on Sunday afternoon and one of them will pick up two points. The Stars need a win and a Kindersley loss Sunday to have a share of top spot in that division. A Stars win and a Humboldt overtime/shootout win would see the day end with a three-way tie at the top of the division.
Estevan has just two games left, a home-and-home with Weyburn this coming Friday/Saturday.
The Nipawin Hawks broke a rare three game winless streak on Saturday with a 5-2 decision over the Yorkton Terriers.
That puts the Hawks (36-14-2-2) three points up on Kindersley for the overall lead, and keeps them two ahead of Melfort for the Sherwood Division lead.
Defenseman Walker Cote had three assists for Nipawin, while Brodie Girod and Arik Breton each had a goal and an assist. Jaxsen Wiebe, Colton Nikiforuk and Michael Makarenko also hit the scoresheet and Patrick Pugliese made 24/26 saves.
Aiden Bulych and Dino Antoniadis scored goals 15 seconds apart in the second period for Yorkton, making it a 3-2 game at the time. Andrew Henderson made 32/36 saves.
The Terriers (29-25-1-0) see their four game winning streak end, and they’re now five points back of Estevan for the Viterra lead with three games left, and they’re back in an 8th place overall tie with Notre Dame, with the Hounds having a game in hand.
Nipawin’s back at it Tuesday in Flin Flon while Yorkton’s off until a home and home with Melville beginning on Friday.
The Weyburn Red Wings kept their playoff hopes very much alive as they went into Melville and beat the Millionaires 6-4, pulling to within a point of the Millionaires for the 10th and final playoff spot.
Both teams have four games left, and another key head-to-head on Wednesday, in Melville again. The Wings have a chance to jump into 10th while a loss would leave them three points back with three games left.
Jordan Kazymyra led the Red Wings (16-32-5-1) with two goals on Saturday, while Sean Olson, Drew Anderson, Ben Hiltz and Garrett Szeremley all had a goal and an assist. Kazymyra and Hiltz each hit the 20-goal mark on the season. Cody Levesque made 30/34 saves in the win.
Luke Spadafora, Max McPeak, Nash Wood and Luke Nkwama replied for the Millionaires (15-30-5-4). Nkwama made it a 4-4 game early in the third before Olson scored the eventual winner with 6:47 remaining and Hiltz added an empty netter.
The Notre Dame Hounds were forced to come from behind to win their fourth straight game, as they defeated the visiting La Ronge Ice Wolves 6-3.
The Ice Wolves, fresh off snapping a 14 game slide the night before, led 2-0 in the second period after a scoreless first, but the Hounds (25-20-5-4) scored three straight and six of the next seven goals.
Sho Takai had a goal and an assist, with Kyle Robinson, Jarrett Penner, Tanner Tarbell, Cole Stevenson and Jakob Breault also scoring. Matt Lukacs picked up the win, stopping 25 of 28 shots.
Max Kleiner and Zach Bannister gave the Ice Wolves (11-43-1-1) that 2-0 lead and Jordan Mish (1g-1a) added one more in the third.
The Hounds are tied for 8th overall with Yorkton, with a game in hand and they’ll host Melfort on Tuesday.
La Ronge just has a home-and-home with Flin Flon left in their season, starting Friday at the Whitney Forum.