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Terrier 50th: Petruic joined scoring elite in 2020

Week #16 comes from Jan. 8, 2020.
Chantz Petruic had a big start to 2020.

YORKTON - The Yorkton Junior Terriers are celebrating 50 years in the Saskatchewan Junior Hockey League this season.

To mark the milestone Yorkton This Week is digging into its archives and pulling out a random Terrier-related article from the past five decades of reporting on the team, and will be running one each week, just as it originally appeared.

This feature will appear weekly over the entire season in the pages of The Marketplace.

Week #16 comes from Jan. 8, 2020.

And then there were six.

After a two-goal effort Friday, and another pair Saturday, Chantz Petruic joined rather elite company becoming only the sixth player in Yorkton Terrier history to score 50-goals in a single season.

“I didn’t know that at all. It’s cool,” said Petruic Monday, when asked if he was aware how rare his achievement was in the annuals of the Saskatchewan Junior Hockey League franchise.

Petruic did admit he more, or less, had scoring 50 as a personal goal this season.

“I guess I’d kind of made it a bit of a goal,” he said, adding that it was not something he dwelled on as the season rolled along. “I didn’t really think about it game-to-game.”

But now that the 50th goal is in the book, the 20-year-old Terrier forward admitted “obviously it’s pretty special. It’s one of those things where I’m glad that I got it.”

However, Petruic said he’s not exactly sure how to react to the accomplishment even as he joins an elite group that includes Darrell Spelay who did it four times, Bryan Kuspira, Pat Ford, Ed Zawatzky and most recently in the 1991-92 season Dean Seymour.

“It’s a little different feeling from winning a championship,” he said, noting that is always the ultimate goal. “It’s more of a personal thing ... It was something I’m pretty amazed I was able to do.”

It was made all the more special that Petruic’s dad, grandmother, uncle, cousin and a couple of his best friends from Moose Jaw were in the stands in Humboldt Saturday.

“I scored right in the corner where they were,” said Petruic of his 50th that came with only three seconds left on the clock. “It was nice to get it done with them there.”

The 50 goals came after what Petruic said was a slow start to his season.

“I didn’t really have the best start to the year,” he said, adding that a change in approach seemed to kickstart things. “About 15-games in I started to shoot the puck more and the bounces started to go my way a bit more.”

Petruic said he is just as happy to pass the puck to set up a teammate – he has 44 assists – but added you need to shoot to score.

“I like to make a pass, like to set my teammates up ... (But), I started to shoot a bit more to create chances from that a bit more,” he said.

As the goals start to go in, the goal of 50 became more likely.

“Before Christmas I started to get real close,” said Petruic, adding that was when he started to think about it more.

Still, Petruic said he strives to be more than just a goal scorer.

“I want to evolve my game into an all-around player,” he said.

“Dad always says I should shoot the puck more. He doesn’t think I shoot enough, so he gives me the gears, but I’m always working on being better in our end, being reliable in our end.”

In that respect Petruic said Terrier coach Mat Hehr has been a big help, in particular reminding him to play like he can “and don’t let the confidence go down if I have a bad game ... If you don’t have confidence you can’t do anything out there.

“Mat Hehr has really advanced my game, to be the player I can be.”

Teammates are of course important too.

Petruic said as a 19-year he learned a lot from Branden Klatt and Jared Legien.

“They helped me out a lot,” he said.

This year Petruic started the season on a line with Brett LeGrandeur and Jordan Guiney, and now hits the ice with Keenan and Kaeden Taphorn.

“Obviously scoring goals wouldn’t be possible without teammates,” he said, adding he owes them a lot of credit for the success he has enjoyed.

What will come next for Petruic after his final season with the Terriers is compete – with a league championship and beyond he hopes?

“I’m not really sure really. It’s still up in the air,” he said, adding it might be a pro contract somewhere, or off to a Canadian college to play hockey, although what his career path past hockey will be is still to be decided.

“I’m not sure what the best route is for me yet.”

As the season wears on, and the accolades mount, Petruic has been SJHL Player of the Month three times, he said he just wants to focus on winning games now.

“I just try to stay humble,” he said, adding in his mind the goals are just part of doing his job. “It’s just one of those things. I hold myself to a certain standard. I’ve always been hard on myself. If I don’t play the game hard, play the best I can, I let my teammates down. Obviously being a leader I have to lead by example.”

And, in the back of his mind Petruic admits 60 goals looms.

“I’m thinking about it a little bit,” he said with a smile. “Obviously team success comes first, but you play around with it (the idea of 60), a little bit in my head.”