By Craig Stein
The standings tightened up once again on Wednesday, as the Weyburn Red Wings and Kindersley Klippers both picked up key road wins against teams they’re trying to chase down.
The Wings (27-22-4-0) scored late to beat the Estevan Bruins 5-4 in regulation. They’re now five points shy of Estevan for the Viterra Division lead and 3rd playoff seed, but the most interesting and tightly contested race is for the 6th overall position, which Weyburn’s also a part of.
The win leaves Weyburn one point back of Notre Dame for that sixth spot.
Sean Olson scored the winner with 1:38 left in regulation, after the Bruins scored twice to tie things up. Mike Eskra had four assists from the back end, while Tyran Brown (1g-1a), Jordan Kazymyra (1g-1a), Ben Hiltz and Dryden Wust also scored.
Hayden Guilderson scored twice and added one assist for the Bruins (29-18-3-2). TJ Irey and Kaelan Holt also scored and Jake Fletcher chipped in three assists.
The two rivals square off again Friday in Weyburn, and again one final time next Friday (Mar/2) in Weyburn, so that division is still very much up for grabs.
A loss in Notre Dame Wednesday would have drastically shrunk the chances of the Kindersley Klippers getting into a top six spot, but they went into Wilcox and rolled to a 6-2 decision, keeping things very interesting in that race.
The Klippers (24-20-4-3) are now three points behind 7th place Weyburn four back of the 6th place Hounds, and have two games in hand on both.
Defenseman Blake Kleiner had two goals and an assist in Wednesday’s win, doubling his goal total on the year, while Will Van Der Sloot also scored twice as the Klippers went 3/11 on the powerplay. Keillan Olson and Thomas Bollefer also scored and Nik Malenica had three assists. Justen Close made 25/27 saves.
Ahmed Ally and Alexandre Desgagnes replied for the Hounds (27-21-1-4). Notre Dame’s only action this coming weekend is a Saturday night date in Melfort.
The Klippers return home for the first time in two weeks Friday and Saturday when they host Yorkton for a pair. They’re then back on the road for their next three (Nipawin-Melfort-La Ronge trip), and four of their final five to wrap up the season, which concludes with a home-and-home against Battlefords.