By Craig Stein
SHERWOOD PENNANT & FINAL PLAYOFF SPOT WILL COME DOWN TO TUESDAY
Just like Friday, the Flin Flon Bombers and Nipawin Hawks both won, while the Melville Millionaires and Melfort Mustangs both lost in regulation, meaning both the Sherwood Division pennant, and the 10th and final playoff spot, will come down to the final night of the regular season, on Tuesday.
Flin Flon sits two points back of Nipawin for top spot in the Sherwood, and has the tie-breaker, meaning they will have to win in regulation when they host the Hawks on Tuesday, in order for them to overtake Nipawin for 1st in the Sherwood, and the 2nd overall playoff seed, whoever doesn’t win the division will take 4th spot, and play Humboldt in the Quarter-Final.
Melville remains one point back of 10th place Melfort, and the Mustangs hold the tie-breaker. To jump into a playoff spot, Melville would have to beat Estevan in Melville on Tuesday, and have Melfort lose, in regulation, in Humboldt the same night. The games won’t mean anything in the standings to either Estevan or Humboldt.
The tight middle of the pack also shook itself out on Saturday, as the Humboldt Broncos beat Notre Dame 3-2 in overtime, clinching 5th place for the Broncos, and date with whoever does not win the Sherwood, out of Flin Flon and Nipawin. Had the Hounds won in overtime, even 5th place would have still been possible, but they finish tied with Yorkton for 6th. The Terriers have the tie-breaker thanks to a 3-1-0-0 head to head record with the Hounds, meaning the Terriers will take the 6th seed and face Estevan in the Quarter-Finals, and Notre Dame gets 7th, or the top Wild Card slot, and will open at home against whoever ends up in 10th, Melfort or Melville.
With still much to be decided out of the final three game son Tuesday, the standings are now a lot more clear after Saturday.
2) Nipawin or Flin Flon
4) Flin Flon or Nipawin
7) Notre Dame
10) Melfort or Melville
12) La Ronge
WILD CARD SERIES
7) Notre Dame vs 10) Melfort or Melville
8) Weyburn vs 9) Kindersley
1) Battlefords vs Wild Card #2
2) Nipawin or Flin Flon vs Wild Card #1
3) Estevan vs 6) Yorkton
4) Flin Flon or Nipawin vs 5) Humboldt
1) Battlefords vs Wild Card #2
Flin Flon kept their Sherwood pennant hopes alive with a 7-1 victory over La Ronge on Saturday night, while Greyson Reitmeier also gave himself a shot at a scoring title.
Reitmeier followed up Friday’s four point performance with another goal and two assists Saturday, giving him 77 points (27g-50a), two back of Notre Dame’s Ben Duperreault, who had one assist Saturday. Duperreault’s regular season is over while Reitmeier has one more game Tuesday.
Jason Lavallee had five points Friday, and had another two goals and an assist Saturday. Brandon Lesko (1g-1a), Daylan Marchi (1g-1a), Connor Beebe and Kristian St. Onge also scored and Brenden Newton made 21/22 saves for Flin Flon. The Bombers (38-14-2-3), as mentioned above, would have to beat Nipawin in regulation at the Whitney Forum on Tuesday, to win the division. If the Bombers lose or if the game goes to overtime, Flin Flon would host Humboldt when the Quarter-Finals begin.
Derek Frater replied for La Ronge, ending a tough season for the Ice Wolves, who finish up at 6-47-1-4, and without a win in their final 29 games.
Nipawin’s Kristian Stead made sure he’d win the league shutout race, as he made 22 saves for his 7th of the season Saturday, in the Hawks 4-0 win over Melfort. That broke the tie he had with Joel Gryzbowski of the North Stars.
After his four goal performance on Friday, Logan Casavant scored once again on Saturday, opening the scoring midway through the first period.
Grant Baetsen had a goal and two assists while Michael Grant and Keegan Milligan notched the others for Nipawin.
The Hawks (40-14-2-1) need a single point in Flin Flon on Tuesday to lock up the Sherwood Division.
The Mustangs (21-30-2-4) would clinch the 10th playoff position with a single point Tuesday in Humboldt, OR a Melville loss of any kind that same night, when they host Estevan.
Melville came close to jumping into a playoff spot, or at least a tie for one Saturday, as they opened the scoring against Yorkton but went on to lose 2-1 to the Terriers.
Millionaires’ defenseman Eric Soar got them on the board first, before Yorkton’s Jared Legien tied things up with his 30th goal of the season.
It stayed 1-1 until there was just 3:22 left in regulation, when Dakota Odgers potted the winner for the Terriers (28-25-5-0). Yorkton finished the season with points in eight straight games (7-0-1), and finish tied for 6th with Notre Dame. The Terriers won 3 of the 4 head to head meetings with the Hounds, so they’ll take the #6 seed and battle the third place overall Estevan Bruins in the Quarter-Finals, bypassing the Wild Card series.
If the Millionaires (22-32-3-0) were told a few weeks ago that they’d still have a shot at a playoff spot on the final night of the season, they’d would have likely been ecstatic about that. They need a win over Estevan Tuesday, and Melfort to lose, in regulation, in Humboldt for that to happen.
When the Humboldt Broncos and Notre Dame Hounds started overtime in their Saturday night contest, the two of them, and the Yorkton Terriers, were in a three way tie for 5th place with 61 points.
Luke Kempf scored the winner, and that locked up 5th place overall for the Broncos (30-25-1-1), and a Quarter-Final date with either Flin Flon or Nipawin.
The Hounds finished their regular season at 26-23-7-2, and losing the tie-breaker with Yorkton, the Hounds will take the top seed in the Wild Card series, 7th overall, and face either Melfort or Melville, whoever grabs that final spot after Tuesday.
Before Kempf’s overtime heroics, Trevor Posch potted both Bronco goals in regulation and Garrett Mason made 33/35 saves.
Jacob Arsenault and Adam Dawe replied for the Hounds and Benjamin Patt stopped 30/33 shots.
Humboldt hosts Melfort to wrap up their regular season on Tuesday.
What a year it’s been for the goalies, and leading the way in many of the categories have been the Battlefords duo of Taryn Kotchorek and Joel Gryzbowski.
Gryzbowski picked up his 6th shutout of the season on Friday, and Kotchorek added his 5th in Saturday’s regular season finale, giving the North Stars 11 shutouts as a team. They surrendered just 103 goals over a 58 game schedule, a goals against average of 1.78. Kotchorek finished the year 27-3-0, 1.61 GAA, .936%, 5 SO. Gryzbowski was 21-4-1, 1.66 GAA, .935%, 6 SO.
Coby Downs scored twice on Saturday, giving him 29 goals and 72 points, in just 46 games to finish his season. Blake Fennig (1g-1a), Bryce Hall and Reed Delainey also scored, in front of Kotchorek’s 35 saves.
The Klippers finish the season at 25-30-3-0. They’ll travel to Weyburn for Games 1 and 2 of the Wild Card Series. That series is likely to start Thursday but nothing has been released at this point. Should the Klippers win that series, and Notre Dame wins the other Wild Card Series, Kindersley would get Battlefords in their Quarter-Final. The Stars swept that season series 10-0.
It didn’t mean anything in the standings for either team, but the Weyburn Red Wings and Estevan Bruins didn’t let off the gas in their final meeting of the season, as the Bruins got by the Wings 4-3 in overtime.
Matt McNeil’s second of the night was the winner at 1:45 of the extra frame. He finished with two goals and an assist. Kaelan Holt (1g-1a) and Michael McChesney also hit the next and Nathan Alalouf made 37/40 saves.
Jacob Wozney (1g-1a) scored his 30th goal in his final game of the season for the Red Wings (25-26-3-4). Aiden Wagner and Cordel Larson (1st goal in 1st SJHL game) also hit the scoresheet.
The Red Wings host Kindersley in the Wild Card Series while Estevan off until the Quarter-Finals when they’ll have home ice against Yorkton.