By Craig Stein
SECOND TITLE IN LAST THREE YEARS
For the second time in the last three seasons, the Battlefords North Stars are SJHL Canalta Cup Champions, finishing the job Friday with a 7-2 victory over the Melfort Mustangs, taking the series in five games.
For a third straight game, the Mustang opened the scoring but went on to lose, as Justin Ball, in the final game of a stellar three year SJHL career, scored his 8th of the playoffs on an unassisted breakaway just 5:43 into Game 5. Ball finished with a goal and an assist and his 23 points led the SJHL post-season, just like he did during the regular season. Tanner Zentner added a second period goal for Melfort, but not before Battlefords racked up four unanswered to start pulling away.
Braydon Buziak (2g-1a), Quinton Loon-Stewardson (2g-1a) and MacGregor Sinclair each scored twice for the Stars, while defenseman Austin Shumanski had the other. Captain Cody Spagrud picked up four assists before accepting the Canalta Cup from league President Bill Chow after the game. Joel Gryzbowski made 32/34 saves and was named SJHL Playoff MVP. Gryzbowski went 12-2-2 in the playoffs, with a 1.68 GAA, .950% and four shutouts. The 19-year-old has two SJHL titles under his belt and is eligible to return next season.
The North Stars advance to the ANAVET Cup against the MJHL Champions, and their opponent is still yet to be determined. The Portage Terriers will host the Swan Valley Stampeders in the seventh and deciding game of the MJHL Final on Monday night.
The ANAVET Cup schedule is expected to be released on Saturday.