By Craig Stein
Second Straight Shutout For Stingy Stars
The Battlefords North Stars had a very uncommon three home games in three nights this Thursday through Saturday, and certainly made the most of the home ice advantage, winning all three while giving up a grand total, of one goal.
Taryn Kotchorek got Saturday off after picking up his 13th career SJHL shutout on Friday, and Joel Gryzbowski followed up that performance making 24 saves for the shutout, as the Stars edged the Notre Dame Hounds 1-0 on Saturday.
The only goal came from Cole Johnson on the powerplay in the second period. Johnson has 12-goals and 24-points in 15-games as a North Star. Layne Young had an assist, upping his points streak to eight games, and it was the first time in those eight games that he didn’t register two points or more. Young now has 95 points (32g-63a) on the year, with nine games still to play.
The North Stars (38-9-2-0) are now just two points back of Nipawin for top spot overall. The Hawks now have one game in hand after having the weekend off. Nipawin’s off until Friday when they welcome Humboldt. The Stars wrapped up a seven game (6-1-0-0) home stand on Saturday and are off until next Saturday in Estevan, the first of four straight on the road. Battlefords plays Nipawin in their final regular season game.
Jack Ryan stopped 27 of the 28 shots he faced in goal for the Hounds (26-19-1-3) on Saturday. Notre Dame remains in 6th spot, two points up on Weyburn.
Logan Hunter had two goals and two assists, and the Humboldt Broncos won their third straight game, 6-1 over the Weyburn Red Wings.
Conner Lukan added a goal and two assists, and Logan Schatz continued his recent tear with a goal and an assist, running his point streak to seven games (5g-10a-15p). Derek Patter and Morgan Gobeil also scored and Parker Tobin stopped 32/33 shots in the win. Tobin has won his last five starts.
The fifth place Broncos (29-16-3-2) will have a tough time moving up in the standings, still eight points back of Melfort for home ice, but they’re putting distance behind them, now seven points up on Notre Dame.
The Red Wings (25-20-4-0) hit a dry spell on their three game Battlefords-Humboldt-Humboldt road trip, managing one goal in each game, and they remain just two points back of sixth place Notre Dame, despite the Hounds also dropping their last three. Connor Pyne had the lone goal for Weyburn on Saturday.
Loch Morrison scored his 18th goal of the season to lead all SJHL defensemen, and chipped in three assists for a four point night, and the Melfort Mustangs doubled up the Flin Flon Bombers 6-3 on the road, one night after the Bombers beat the Mustangs in Melfort.
Reed Gunville and Ben Allen each had two goals and an assist, while Drew Warkentine also scored and Evan Plotnik made 27/30 saves for the Mustangs (33-11-4-1).
Brandson Hein (1g-1a), Nate Hooper (1g-1a) and Calvon Boots responded for the Bombers (19-22-3-4), who slip to five points back of Kindersley for 8th place and home ice in the Wild Card series. Flin Flon did officially secure a playoff berth over the weekend.
The Kindersley Klippers are poised to make some noise in the standings thanks to a hot start to February.
The Klippers are 4-0-0-1 in their last five games, after Saturday’s 5-2 win over Kindersley. With Notre Dame and Weyburn both dropping their last three games, the Klippers (22-18-3-3), who a week ago appeared locked into no higher than 8th, are now just four points back of Weyburn and six behind Notre Dame for a top six spot, and they have three games in hand on each club in front of them. With Flin Flon’s loss to Melfort, Kindersley is now five points up on the Bombers with two in hand.
Saturday say Tanner Thompson score twice and Keillan Olson picked up a goal and two assists. Kyle Bosch and Nicolas Malenica each had a goal and an assist, and Zach Johnson made 15/17 saves.
Connor Smith replied with his 18th goal of the season and Matthew Perkins had his 11th for the Ice Wolves (8-38-0-3), who are now winless in 10 (0-9-0-1). One more loss, or Melville win the rest of the way would eliminate La Ronge from playoff contention.
Much like the Melfort/Flin Flon weekend home and home, the road team won both nights between Yorkton and Melville as well.
After Melville’s win Friday in Yorkton, the Terriers kept their flickering playoff hopes alive, going into Melville on Saturday and skating to a 7-5 win.
Chantz Petruic opened the night with a natural hat trick giving him 17 goals on the season. Cody Bruchkowski picked up three assists while Quinten Hobbs (1g-1a), Cole Keenleyside and Cody Dubas also found the net.
In a losing effort, five Millionaires had multi-point nights, as Aidan Steinke (2g-1a) and Damian Bentz scored twice each. Cory Schillo added a goal and two assists, while Montana Streit had three assists and Daniel Liberty set up a pair.
So the Terriers (10-34-2-2) pick up their first win since Jan/24, and with the split, end the weekend in the same spot they went into it, 12 points back of Melville for a playoff spot, but are running out of games, with 10 remaining. They do play their next four all at home, with back to back against Kindersley Wednesday and Friday, and back to back with La Ronge next Sunday and Monday.
The Millionaires are now 17-29-0-2 on the season, and get set to host Kindersley on Tuesday, and like the Terriers, their next four games are all at home, two each with Kindersley and La Ronge as those two clubs head to Eastern Sask for four game swings.