By Craig Stein
HOME TEAMS TAKE SERIES LEADS
Both road teams took early leads in Friday night’s SJHL Semi-Final series openers, but the tide quickly turned for both teams in the second period as the Melfort Mustangs and Battlefords North Stars both picked up 6-2 victories in their respective Best-of-Seven openers.
In Melfort, the Estevan Bruins struck first, and led 2-0 less than five minutes into the second period thanks to Turner Ripplinger (1g-1a) and Bryce Platt.
It didn’t stay that way for long however, as the Mustangs went on to score four goals just over seven minutes apart in the middle period, and three of them by Kenzie Arnold, his first three goals of the playoffs, and he also set up Zach Anderson as Arnold had a four point night and Anderson added three (1g-2a). Colin Schmidt added four assists while captain Carson Albrecht tacked on two third period goals, his 6th and 7th of the post-season to lead the league. Noah Giesbrecht picked up the win making 25/27 saves.
Game 2 goes Saturday in Melfort.
The Yorkton Terriers, fresh off a Game 7 victory over the top seeded Nipawin Hawks, jumped out to a 1-0 lead on the #2 seed Battlefords North Stars in Friday’s Game 1.
The Stars rattled off the next five straight, and their powerplay was a big part of it as they went 3-for-6 with the man advantage. They led 3-1 after the second period and added three more in the third. Elijah Loon-Stewardson led the way with a goal and two assists, while his brother Quinton had a goal and one assist. Ryan Gil (1g-1a), Dayton Heino, Austin Shumanski and Braydon Buziak also found the net, and Joel Gryzbowski stopped 29 of the 31 shots he faced.
Cole Keenleyside opened the scoring for the Terriers, and rookie Kishaun Gervais added one more in the third. The Stars also host Game 2 on Saturday night.