YORKTON - The Yorkton Terriers will face the Melfort Mustangs in the opening round of the SJHL playoffs.
The Terriers finished the regular season with a record of 29-22-1-6 for 65 points, second best in the Viterra Division well back of Estevan with 91, to sit sixth overall in the SJHL, but still a season that Terrier GM and head coach Mat Hehr is satisfied with.
“When we started we didn’t know what to expect,” he said, adding the feeling going in was that “it was sort of a rebuilding year.”
But the team jelled quickly.
“I think the team really surprised from what we had envisioned,” said Hehr.
It helped when they added veteran Zack McIntyre who ended his overall season with 20 goals and 40 points, noted Hehr.
And the play of rookie Kael DePape in net was huge.
“He’s been standing on his head,” offered Hehr. “Every time he’s in net he gives us a chance to win.”
The Terriers are somewhat ‘big games’ tested at this point, having fought hard to win seven of their last eight games to finish sixth overall, and not have to face the league’s top team Estevan or Humboldt in the opening round. Both teams eclipsed 90 points this season.
So how do the two teams stack up against each other?
The Mustangs finished first in the Sherwood Division with a record of 34-15-4-5 for 77 points, third overall.
Offensively the Terriers scored 178 goals, only eighth best in the league, while Melfort netted 207 third best in the league.
The teams met Dec. 3, in Melfort with the Terriers winning 6-2, while in Yorkton Nov. 20, Melfort won 3-2 in a shoot-out, and won 2-0 in Melfort Nov. 13. The Mustangs also won Sept. 28 in Yorkton, 5-3.
The Terriers top goal scorer was Kishaun Gervais with 22, tied for 18th among SJHL shooters, and no Terriers was in the top-20 for assists.
Nolan Doeell scored 29 goals and 60 points to lead Melfort.
On defence the Terriers allowed 162 which was fourth best in the league, led by Kael DePape in net. He played in 43 games and record a 2.32 goals against average, fourth best in the league, His save percentage of .915 was sixth best.
By comparison Melfort allowed 165 as a team fifth best in the league.
The Mustangs had two goalies in the top-10 in the SJHL, Joel Favreau sixth best in GAA at 2.74 in 26 games, and James Venne seventh at 2.76 in 33 games. The two netminders had a save percentage of .902 and .898.
The playoffs will start with two games in Melfort, expected over the weekend, before switching to the Westland Insurance Arena for games three and four.