By Craig Stein
EIGHT STRAIGHT FOR NORTH STARS
One night after the Battlefords North Stars took over first place in the Finning Division from the Humboldt Broncos, the two teams met in Battlefords, and the North Stars won again, 3-1, for their 8th consecutive victory, giving them a three point cushion in the division.
Joel Gryzbowski had a 29/30 save performance, and in nine starts, he’s now allowed one goal or less seven times. He has a 1.23 GAA and a .951 save percentage.
Offensively, Coby Downs had another goal and an assist. Troy Gerein and Ben Allen scored and Connor Sych added a pair of assists for the Stars (16-5-0-0).
Matthieu Gomercic scored his first goal as a Bronco, and Garrett Mason made 43/45 saves in the loss. The Broncos are now 14-5-0-1 on the year.
When the Kindersley Klippers left home for South East Saskatchewan for a Weyburn/Estevan road trip, they were in a funk, with 2 wins in their previous 10 games (2-7-1-0).
However going up against the top two teams in the Viterra, the Klippers got their groove back, emphatically beating the Red Wings 8-3 on Friday, and followed that with a 6-0 blanking of the first place Bruins on Saturday.
It`s not as if the Bruins didn`t have their opportunities. They sent 52 shots on Klipper goalie Nick Trenciansky, but the 20-year-old from B.C. stopped them all, for his first SJHL shutout.
Jordan Evans scored twice for the Klippers (9-10-1-0), with Branden Wagner (1g-1a), Kyle Bosch, Jordan Funk and Carson Pickett adding the others.
The Bruins (15-5-0-1), who dropped back to back home games over the weekend, came into Saturday`s action as the league`s highest-scoring team (94 goals in 20 games) were shut out for the first time this season.
Declan Hobbs made his first SJHL start in goal for the Nipawin Hawks on Saturday, and it was a memorable one as the 18-year-old made 22 saves as he and the Hawks shutout the La Ronge Ice Wolves 3-0.
Hobbs was a 3rd round WHL Bantam pick by the Kootenay Ice, and was recently re-assigned to back up Kristian Stead. He`s the younger brother of former Hawk defenseman (and current Regina Pat) Connor Hobbs.
Keillan Olson was in on all three of Nipawin`s goals Saturday, scoring twice and setting up the other. Tanner Thompson added a goal and an assist, while goaltender Luke Dechaine was solid for the Ice Wolves (2-14-0-3), making 34 saves on 36 shots.
Hobbs didn`t do anything to hurt the Hawks` team goals against average, which is now a sparkling 1.63, giving up just 26 goals in 16 games as a team. That was the fifth win in a row for the Hawks (11-3-2-0), and 11th in their last 12 games.
The Weyburn Red Wings and Yorkton Terriers met for a neutral site game in Moosomin, and it was the Wings prevailing with a 6-3 decision.
Nathan Hargrave stopped 40 of the 43 shots he faced, and Donavon Lumb scored twice to lead the way for the Wings (12-8-0-1). Jacob Wozney (1g-1a), Ian Parker (1g-1a), Devon Becker and Jeremy Lagler also found the net.
Jared Legien (1g-1a), Jordan Ross (1g-1a) and Carson Welke replied for the Terriers (5-10-3-0), who now find themselves winless in six (0-5-1).