The Yorkton RawTec Maulers returned from their weekend northern road trip with a .500 record, first falling 3-1 to the Beardy’s Blackhawks on Saturday before storming back in the third period to shock the Prince Albert Mintos 6-4 on Sunday.
The two results give the RawTec Maulers a 15-13-4 record through 32 SMAAAHL games and a total of 34 points, good enough for seventh overall but just two points back of Prince Albert (15-10-6) for sixth place and four points behind the fifth place Saskatoon Contacts.
The Regina Pat Canadians currently lead the league with a 26-5-1 record and 53 points, closely followed by Tisdale (24-5-2) at 50.
The Notre Dame Hounds sit in third with a 21-6-0 record and 42 points, while the Battlefords Stars round out the top four with a 20-9-1 record and 41 points.
Moose Jaw (12-15-4) sits in eighth spot with 28 points while Beardy’s (12-20-1) is just three points back in ninth with 25.
The Saskatoon Blazers (8-24-0) and Swift Current Legionnaires (7-23-2) both have 16 points while the Notre Dame Argos sit in last place with a 5-21-0 record for just 10 points.
The Yorkton RawTec Maulers travelled to the Willow Cree Memorial Sport Centre on Saturday night to take on the struggling Beardy’s Blackhawks.
However it was Beardy’s that would open the scoring when Connor Navrot beat Mauler netminder Rylan Palchewich via the power play less than four minutes in to make it 1-0 for the home side.
The Blackhawks made it 2-0 early in the second period on a Trevar Mann goal, but Yorkton blueliner Adam Neibrandt brought the Maulers back to within one just eight minutes later when his power play point blast eluded Beardy’s goalie David Thiel to make it a 2-1 game.
Ryan Rothenburger restored the two goal Beardy’s advantage with just under six minutes left in the second period to make it 3-1.
The score would remain that way the rest of the way as Thiel would surrender just one goal all game, stopping 44-of-45 RawTec Mauler shots for the win.
Palchewich picked up the loss in his first action of 2015, stopping 29-of-32 Blackhawks attempts.
Following the game RawTec Maulers head coach Dan Cross mentioned that his team probably deserved better, but for whatever reason could not find a way to put another puck past Thiel. “We outshot them and their goalie played really well. Then we had a strong third period but we just couldn’t seem to find the back of the net again,” said Cross, adding that his team came out of the gates slowly and gave up a quick goal that momentarily fired up the Beardy’s bench before the game became the Thiel show. “We came out to a slow start and they got the lead early and kind of smelled blood there a little bit and they basically hung on.”
Power play prowess
Less than 24 hours after their disappointing 3-1 loss to the Beardy’s Blackhawks the RawTec Maulers were back on the ice.
This time their opponents were the defending National Champion Prince Albert Mintos at Prince Albert’s Art Hauser Centre; a place where, historically, the RawTec Maulers have struggled.
Early on it looked as if those struggles would continue as Mintos forward Kody White made it 1-0 for P.A. via a shorthanded goal with 12:45 left in the first period.
A power play marker by Prince Albert’s Erik Gardiner made it 2-0 for the hosts and it looked as if the wheels were about to fall off the Mauler bus, however a late Yorkton power play goal of their own, scored by Brennan Watson with just 18 seconds left in the period, made it 2-1 after 20 minutes.
Drake Teer regained the two goal Minto advantage 4:11 into the second period.
Another Minto goal, this time off the stick of Matt Parsons, made it 4-1 before Logan Casavant made it 4-2 with Yorkton’s second power play goal of the game with just 3:05 remaining in the second stanza.
A four minute penalty for head contact issued to Prince Albert’s Parsons with two seconds left in the second period meant the Maulers would have all sorts of time at the beginning of the third period to pull to within one.
Something they did less than two minutes into the frame when Casavant once again beat Mintos netminder Derrick Hucul for the third Mauler power play goal of the game.
The second Casavant goal gave Yorkton all the momentum and just 20 seconds later they tied it up as Casavant completed the natural hattrick with his third power play goal of the game and the fourth such goal for the Maulers on the afternoon.
The game remained tied until the 3:02 mark of the third period when, with Prince Albert’s Chris Van Os-Shaw in the penalty box for interference, the extremely hot Mauler power play once again found the back of the net.
This time it was Koal Roberts who beat Hucul to give Yorkton its first lead of the game, 5-4 with all five goals coming on the man advantage.
A McKenzie Welke empty net goal with 41 seconds left in the game sealed the deal for the RawTec Maulers as Yorkton skated into the Art Hauser Centre and shocked the Mintos, scoring five power play goals en route to a 6-4 win.
Carter Phair picked up the win facing 34 Minto shots while Hucul suffered the loss, turning aside 43 of 48 Yorkton attempts.
The Yorkton RawTec Maulers (15-13-4) host the Beardy’s Blackhawks (12-20-1) for a pair of games this weekend. Saturday’s game is set for 7:30p.m. while Sunday’s match up will take place at 2:00p.m.
The Maulers will then host the league leading Regina Pat Canadians (26-5-1) on Tuesday, January 27. Game time for that game is set for 8:00p.m.