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Terrier's 50th: Shooting nets Terrier goals (in 1996)

Week #18 comes from April 13, 1996.
In 1996, the wandering Terriers played game five at the Agridome in Regina. Home-ice advantaged was supposed to go to Yorkton, but the Farm & Leisure show meant a change in venue. (File Photo)

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 #18 comes from April 13, 1996.

The Yorkton Terriers – that noted band of nomads – hope to continue winning while on the road.

They have to, otherwise their Saskatchewan Junior Hockey League season comes to a close.

The Terriers came back from a 3-2 deficit Wednesday to defeat the home-town Melfort Mustangs 4-3 in overtime in game four of the SJHL championship series.

Down three games to nil, a win was a must.

Friday night, the wandering Terriers played game five at the Agridome in Regina. Home-ice advantaged was supposed to go to Yorkton, but the Farm & Leisure show meant a change in venue.

The results of the game were not available before press time Friday evening.

But a win would send the Terriers back to Melfort for game six Sunday. The seventh and deciding game would be played in Yorkton Tuesday.

Joe Tassone’s goal a scant 19 seconds into overtime forced the trip to Regina for game five.

Tassone and Fred Slukynsky broke in on the Melfort zone. Slukynsky dropped a pass to Tassone, who used the defenseman as a screen and quickly fired the puck on net. And it went in.

Tassone says his plan was to get the shot on goal, and perhaps set up a rebound for Slukynsky. The result turned out better than planned.

“It was a great experience. We were facing elimination and we needed a goal. I was just happy to score for the team,” he said.

“It was a simple shot – just on the net,” said Terriers coach Lee Odelein.

And that is exactly what he was telling his players to do after Tuesday night’s 5-1 loss, a game which Yorkton managed just 17 shots on goal.

On Wednesday, “they definitely picked up their game,” said Odelein about his team. He told the players to shoot the puck rather than make the fancy pass, and the message sunk in, with Yorkton sending 35 shots on Melfort goalie Scott Frankhouser.

“It was a well-played defensive game as a whole,” noted Terrier netminder Scott Prekaski, who faced 40 shots. “We started shooting also, and it paid off.

Melfort opened the scoring before 1,809 fans at the Northern Lights Palace at 7:30 of the first period on a goal by Devin Hartnell.

Tassone, with his first goal of the game, and Slukynsky scored before the second period was half over to give Yorkton a 2-1 lead.

However, Curtis Doell and Jason Duda responded for Melfort late in the second frame, to give Melfort a 3-2 edge.

Down 3-0 in games, and trailing heading into the third period, the Terriers could have written off the season. But they didn’t.

“It came from down deep. We knew we had to win,” said Jarred Skolnik. “We worked hard the period (second) and we knew we had to keep the same effort. It was just kind of a gnawing feeling you’re going to win.”

Rod Gorrill tied the score at 7:27 of the third. The goal stood until Tassone’s heroics.

According to Terrier forward Rob Kozak, the team “showed a lot of character. I’m really proud of the guys. We’re right back into this thing.”

But the Terriers will likely have to do without Dave Noel-Bernier, who left the game early in the first period with an undisclosed injury.

Odelein said Noel-Bernier, the team’s leading playoff scorer with 14, is probably out for the season.

“That’s a definite blow to our team, but the other guys picked up the slack.”

They also stayed out of the penalty box, which was a key, said Odelein. Yorkton had four minor penalties to Melfort’s seven.

Kozak notes that prior to Wednesday’s game, Melfort had taken five games in a row against his team.

“Now it’s our turn,” he said.

“I believe we can do it – the chances are there for us and we just have to take them,” added Tassone.

That seemed to be the attitude of the rest of the team heading into Friday’s game.

Even with a loss, The Terriers could claim a spot in the Royal Bank Cup slated for May in Melfort. As host, Melfort receives an automatic berth, so if the Mustangs win the SJHL, then defeat the Manitoba champions in the next series, the runner-up in the SJHL would gain the berth. That would be the Terriers.

But Skolnik says the team wants to earn a spot, not have its destiny determined by other teams.

“We don’t want to go through the back door,” he said. “We definitely think we can be at the Royal Bank Cup. It’s just a matter of getting the ball rolling.”


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