By Craig Stein
MUSTANGS FINALLY GET TO GRYZBOWSKI, STARS PULL AWAY LATE
The Battlefords North Stars have won six straight playoff games, and for the third time this post-season, they won the series opener, this time 6-2 over the visiting Melfort Mustangs in Game 1 of the SJHL Canalta Cup Final on Friday night.
The game was far from a blowout, as it was scoreless through twenty minutes and stayed that way until defenseman Noah Form opened the scoring for the Stars 11:44 into the second, his second goal of the playoffs, after scoring one during the regular season. Ryan Gil extended the lead to 2-0 less than three minutes later and it stayed that way heading into the third.
Melfort defenseman Jake Hobson got the Mustangs on the board early in the third period, at the 3:18 mark, ended Stars’ goalie Joel Gryzbowski’s incredible shutout streak at 241 minutes, 18 seconds, dating back to the late stages of Game 1 of their Semi-Final series with Yorkton. Tyson Meyers also added one more in the third period for Melfort, but they weren’t able to get back to even, and the North Stars put it to bed late. 30-goal man Owen Lamb notched his first of the playoffs which stood as the winner and they’d add three more in a 53 second span in the dying minutes, from MacGregor Sinclair, Quinton Loon-Stewardson and Dayton Heino as things on chippy towards the end.
Gryzbowski finished with 33/35 saves, while Melfort’s Noah Giesbrecht turned away 32/37 shots.
The two teams will stay in Battlefords for Game 2 on Saturday night, before moving over to Melfort for games Tuesday and Wednesday.