By Craig Stein
BRUINS TAKE VITERRA LEAD, HOUNDS WIN BACK & FORTH TILT IN FLIN FLON
The Estevan Bruins are winners of six in a row, and are now all alone in first place in the SJHL Viterra Division, jumping two points past Yorkton with a 7-0 win in Weyburn on Friday night.
Michael McChesney (2g-1a), Will Koop (1g-2a) and Johnny Witzke (3a) all had three point nights for Estevan (24-20-2-1). Turner Ripplinger (1g-1a), Jayden Davis, Bryce Platt and Tristyn DeRoose also scored and Kadin Kilpatrick made 16 saves for his first shutout in the SJHL. The Bruins have played one more game than Yorkton.
The loss leaves the Red Wings (15-26-4-0) now three points back of Melville for a playoff spot.
It was simply, a crazy one in Flin Flon, where the Notre Dame Hounds stormed out to a 3-0 lead at the Whitney Forum, before the Bombers ripped off five straight second period goals and six straight overall to take a 6-3 lead. The pendulum swung back once more though, as Marshall Wilton scored a natural hat trick in the third period and overtime, as the Hounds came away with a 7-6 (OT) decision.
Along with Wilton’s three goals, Jakob Breault had a goal and three assists, while Cole Golden, Tim Gould and Conor MacLean also hit the net.
Brandson Hein notched his 39th and 40th goals of the season and added an assist for the Bombers (29-14-1-2). Cade Kowalski had a goal and two assists, while Caleb Moretz (1g-1a), Ethan Daniels and Chrystopher Collin added the others. The Bombers remain fourth in the overall standings and the only way they can finish higher than that is by winning their division. They’re six points back of Nipawin with a game in hand.
The Hounds (21-17-5-4) are 8th overall and have a chance to go three for three on a tough road swing, and they’ll be up against a well rested Nipawin club at The Cage.
The Battlefords North Stars remain in a top six position thanks to a 3-2 overtime win in Melville.
Elijah Loon-Stewardson potted the winner in extra time, while Kaden Boser and MacGregor Sinclair (1g-1a) had the regulation markers. Chad Duran made 28/30 saves for the North Stars (25-12-5-4), who are now tied for fifth overall with Humboldt, with a game in hand. They remain one point up on 7th place Melfort.
Even the single point was a huge one for the Millionaires (15-24-4-3), who are now three points ahead of Weyburn for the 10th and final playoff position. Payton Jerome and Michael Boutoussov (first SJHL goal) scored and Berk Berkeliev made 35/38 saves.
The Stars are in Yorkton Saturday while the Millionaires host Kindersley.
It was possible to have a three way tie at the top of the Global Ag Risk Solutions Division after Friday, but the Kindersley Klippers kept ahead of the pack, as their 4-2 win in Yorkton leaves them two points clear of both Humboldt and Battlefords, and good for second spot overall.
The Klippers (28-12-3-2) also have two games in hand on Humboldt and one on the Stars, and wrap up their four game trip Saturday in Melville. They’re 2-1 so far with a pair of wins in Yorkton and a loss to Melville in the middle.
Devon Cyr led them on Friday with a pair of goals while Steven Avalone (1g-1a) and Ty Enns added singles. Justen Close turned away 20/22 shots in the win.
The Terriers (24-21-1-0), at least for the time being, have relinquished their hold on the Viterra Division lead with Estevan winning their sixth straight. Yorkton has dropped two straight and seven of 10. Brendan Mark and Kurri Woodford, a pair of defenseman provided their offense on Friday.
The Terriers host Battlefords Saturday before Estevan comes to Yorkton for a crucial showdown on Tuesday which will also determine the season series. Both teams have 8 points against one another this season, and the home teams have been dominant in the season series.
Justin Ball scored his 45th goal of the season, and added a pair of assists for an even 80 points on the year, and the Melfort Mustangs doubled up the visiting La Ronge Ice Wolves 6-3.
Ball has seven more points than Flin Flon’s Nate Hooper in the scoring race.
Tanner Zentner added four assists, while Colin Schmidt (1g-1a), Kayle Tosh, Carson Albrecht and Kenzie Arnold added the others. Tanner Martin made his first SJHL start and got the win making 19/22 saves as the Mustangs (27-15-4-0) remain in seven place, but are just one point out of fifth.
Jake Gudjonson and Flynn Perry each had a goal and an assist for the Ice Wolves (10-36-1-1). Samson Mouland added the other. La Ronge is now winless in eight (0-7-0-1).