By Craig Stein
The Weyburn Red Wings find themselves in the middle of the SJHL standings, but also right in the middle of two key and very different races, and helped their cause in both Wednesday, with a 4-2 win on the road against the Notre Dame Hounds.
The win leaves the Wings (23-15-4-0) just one point back of Humboldt for 6th place, which would mean avoiding the Wild Card Series, and also two points behind Notre Dame for 5th.
The Red Wings are also now just four points shy of Estevan for the Viterra Division lead, and that honour would mean a top three position overall, most likely third at this point.
Jeremy Velazquez, Cole Woodliffe and Jordan Kazymyra all had a goal and an assist Wednesday, while Ben Hiltz opened the scoring with his 22nd of the year, and Arik Weersink made 26/28 saves.
Jared Hamm (1g-1a) and Chaz Smedsrud replied for the Hounds (24-15-1-3), who continue to occupy 5th spot in the dogfight that is 5th-7th.
The Battlefords North Stars quickly bounced back from Tuesday’s loss in Kindersley, and sure didn’t use the quick turnaround or travel as an excuse as they went to Melfort and beat the Mustangs 7-3.
What an addition Cole Johnson has been since coming over at the deadline from Alberta, and the 19-year-old racked up a five point night Wednesday with 3-goals and 2-assists, giving him 6-goals and 11-points in six games as a North Star. Chaseton Braid added a goal and two assists, while Levi Kleiboer (1g-1a), Keith Anderson and MacGregor Sinclair (tied for league-leading 27th) also found the net. Layne Young and Garan Magnes had two assists each for the Stars (31-7-2-0), and Joel Gryzbowski made 25/28 saves. Young now has 76 points (25g-51a) to lead the league.
The Mustangs (28-9-4-1) did all their scoring in the second period, and made it a 4-3 game through 40 minutes, thanks to goals from Tristen Elder (1g-1a), Reed Gunville (1g-2a) and Colin Schmidt.
It would be fair to say the Estevan Bruins are likely glad to be through with the Yorkton Terriers this regular season.
The Terriers (9-29-2-1), on the outside looking in at the postseason picture as of now, picked up their fourth win of the season over division-leading Estevan on Wednesday, by a score of 3-1.
Yorkton went 4-3-1-0 against the Bruins in their eight head-to-head divisional meetings.
Ben Laidlaw turned away 40 of the 41 shots he faced, while Drew Coughlin, Mason Mullaney and Benjamin Solomon (first SJHL goal) all scored second period goals.
Kaelan Holt notched his 25th of the season, also in the second frame for the Bruins (25-15-3-1).
The Kindersley Klippers won their third straight game, as Justen Close made 29/30 saves in the Klippers’ 3-1 win over the visiting Humboldt Broncos.
Curtis Peck did the bulk of the damage, scoring two and setting up the other. Devon Cyr also scored and Nik Malenica had two assists for the Klippers (18-16-3-2), following up his three point effort in Tuesday’s win over Battlefords. Kindersley remains in 8th spot with a fair bit of cushion above and below them, but are making a case to join the conversation for a top six spot, with games in hand on everyone they’re chasing.
Nick Shumlanski scored and Parker Tobin made 32/35 saves in goal for the Broncos (23-15-3-2). Humboldt occupies the final top six spot as of tonight, just one point up on Weyburn and one back of Notre Dame.