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Mustangs sneak past Millionaires

Hundreds of scouts are watching the Saskatchewan Junior Hockey League games closely

WARMAN — Hayden Tuba scored in overtime to lift the Melfort Mustangs to a nail biting 3-2 win over the gritty Melville Millionaires in the Saskatchewan Junior Hockey League Showcase at the Legends Centre.

The Mustangs chalked up their fourth win in six games to join the Battlefords North Stars on top of the overall standings. It was also Melfort’s second straight win after suffering a 3-2 loss to the Nipawin Hawks last week, but the win kept the Mustangs on top of the Sherwood Division.

The Millionaires dropped their third straight loss in as many games to remain in the cellar of the Viterra Division.

It was also a heartbreaking loss for the Mike Rooney-coached Millionaires as they managed to tie the match every time the Mustangs scored. Dylan Handel tied the count at two goals each when he scored, from a Brayden Taschuk assist, at 9:59 of the third period.

Both teams failed to score after that, though the Mustangs had several chances to seal the victory, but the Millionaires’ defense foiled every opportunity with goalie Keaton French having 10 saves in the third.

Tuba, in over time, played the heroes role for the Mustangs, as he managed to find an opening against the wall-like defense of French at the goal at 1:33 in overtime. Carter Anderson and Lucas Ochitwa assisted in that goal for their fourth in the league.

Melfort center Ben Tkachuk opened up the scoring at 0:53 in the second period, after a scoreless draw in the first. Melville right winger Noah Wills scored his first goal of the season, from an assist by Jonathan Krahn and Zach Cain, to tie the game at 8:22.

The Mustangs went ahead in the third period courtesy of Coletyn Boyarski from an Anderson solo assist at 2:03. Handel later knotted the tally to force an extra five minutes.

In other games, the Kindersely Klippers escaped with a 2-1 decision over the Flin Flon Bombers while the La Ronge Ice Wolves crushed the Estevan Bruins, 5-2. The game between the North Stars and the Yorkton Terriers were still being played at posting time.

Last Monday, the match between the Notre Dame Hounds and the Nipawin Hawks was delayed due to ice surface challenges. The Hounds, when play resumed, completed a 7-4 victory to even their record to 3-3 win-loss.

The North Stars scored five goals in the third period for a 9-4 win over the Millionaires, the Weyburn Red Wings had a 5-3 triumph over the Humboldt Broncos while the Bombers slipped past the Terriers, 1-0, in other Monday matches.

The three-day showcase in Warman also gives the players the chance to be seen by hundreds of NHL, CIS, and NCAA scouts across from North America.

SJHL president Bill Chow said events like the showcase allow the scouts to see the talent and skills of all players, from the beginning of the season and how they develop as the league goes on. “Having a showcase where a scout can fly in and watch all 12 teams play aides in getting our players recognized and potentially furthering their career with respect to hockey and education”

The SJHL Showcase, which is part of the regular season schedule, features 12 games with each of the league’s 12 teams playing two games.