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SJHL Round-Up: SJHL announces finalists for awards

Finalists have been announced for MVP of the Year, Defenceman of the Year, Coach of the Year and Most Sportsmanlike Player.
The Nipawin Hawks have become the seventh team to earn a Saskatchewan Junior Hockey League playoff berth. As of Sunday, Weyburn sat in eighth with 53 points, nine points ahead of Notre Dame’s 44.

Last week the Nipawin Hawks became the seventh team to earn a Saskatchewan Junior Hockey League playoff berth.

On Saturday night, Estevan beat Notre Dame, which caused the Hawks to clinch the postseason spot. The Nipawin team helped its cause by going 3-1 last week.

There is one final playoff spot up for grabs. After Sunday, Weyburn sat in eighth with 53 points. They were nine points ahead of Notre Dame’s 44.

Last week the SJHL made news by announcing the finalists for its annual awards. Up for SGEU MVP of the Year are Battlefords North Stars teammates Kian Bell, the league’s leading scorer, and No. 2 in SJHL points Holden Doell as well as Weyburn Red Wings standout Ryley Morgan. Bell and Doell are also candidates for RBC Player of the Year. Cole Duperreault of the Flin Flon Bombers is also a finalist.

On the blueline, the SuperU Defenceman of the Year finalists are the North Stars’ Tynan Ewart, Zander Stewart of the Nipawin Hawks, and the Humboldt Broncos’ Daylan Weigel. La Ronge netminder Dawson Smith, North Star Josh Kotai, and Cam Hrdlicka of the Estevan Bruins are up for Sasktel Goalie of the Year.

Nipawin head coach Tad Kozun, Flin Flon bench boss Tad Kozun, and Brayden Klimosko of the North Stars are vying for Saskatchewan Construction Safety Association Coach of the Year.

The league’s young stars are competing for the DirectWest Rookie of the Year honours. The candidates are Riley Ashe of the Melfort Mustangs, the Humboldt Broncos’ Carsten Kayter, and Yorkton Terriers’ Dylan Ruptash.

For the Federated Co-Op Most Sportsmanlike Player, the finalists are Tylin Hilbig, Kindersley Klippers; Jaxon Martens, Melville Millionaires; and Zander Stewart, Nipawin Hawks.


Humboldt Broncos (37-14-1-0)

The Broncos proved they could beat the league’s best this past week. They got by the No. 2 Flin Flon Bombers, 3-2, in a shootout and beat the league-leading Battlefords North Stars, 5-3. The Broncos were unable to beat the North Stars in back-to-back nights and fell 5-3 on March 4 at home.

The Broncos handed the North Stars their first regulation loss at Access Communications Centre this season on March 3. Four third period goals helped Humboldt to a 5-2 win. The teams were tied 1-1 at the intermissions.

In the third, Steven Kesslering put Battlefords on top 2-1. Matthew Van Blaricom knotted it up at 2-2. Alex Izyk gave the North Stars a 3-2 lead. The Broncos then galloped with Cage Newans tying the game, Alec Saretzky giving his team a 4-3 lead on the powerplay, and Van Blaricom capping the scoring with an empty net powerplay goal.

Quin Myles had Humboldt’s first goal. Kesslering scored in the first for Battlefords. Jared Picklyk made 35 saves for Humboldyt, while Josh Kotai had 34 for Battlefords.

On March 1 in Humboldt, Newans and Timothy Kim both scored in the shootout against Flin Flon. Neither of the Bombers’ shooters were able to get one past Benjamin Motew, who had 22 saves on the night. Flin Flon led 1-0 after one. Ethan Zielke tied it up on the powerplay in the second. Daylan Weigel put Humboldt up 2-1 in the third. About six minutes later, Flin Flon tied the game.

On March 4, the North Stars and Broncos were tied 1-1 after the first period on Humboldt. The Battlefords team outscored the hosts 2-1 in each of the next two periods to win 5-3.


Nipawin Hawks (26-23-4-1)

Nipawin opened the week with a 5-3 victory over the Kindersley Klippers at home on Feb. 28. Following a scoreless first period, Kindersley took a 1-0 lead in the second. The Hawks responded with goals by Braxton Buckberger, on the powerplay, and Reid McKay to take a 2-1 lead. In the third, Vito Biondo made it 3-1 for the Hawks. Kindersley scored two straight to tie things up at 3-3. Reese Malkewich delivered the game-winning goal while Reid Mackay added an empty net insurance marker. Nipawin’s Damon Cunningham had 26 saves.

On March 1, the Hawks downed the Melville Millionaires, 4-1, on the road. Scoring for Nipawin were Finley Radloff, Alex Ochitwa, Buckberger, and Alex Johnson. Hawks goalie Jackson Fellner recorded 32 saves.

The Hawks’ two-game winning streak came to an end on March 3 in a 4-3 loss to the Flin Flon Bombers. Nipawin led 1-0 after the first period. Flin Flon tied things up in the second and then opened the third with three straight goals to lead 4-1. Nipawin responded who two goals but were unable to tie things up.

On Sunday, Alex Ochitwa and Carson Dobson both scored in the shootout and neither Hawks shooter could get the puck past Fellner as Nipawin beat their rivals from Melfort, 3-2. Ochitwa and Alyandro De Leon, on a powerplay, had Nipawin’s goals. Fellner finished with 21 saves. The Northern Lights Palace was packed with 1,678 on free admission night.


Battlefords North Stars (45-5-2-1)

The North Stars fell 5-3 to Humboldt at home on March 3. The squad shook off the loss to win 5-3 in Humboldt the next night. The game was knotted at 1-1 after one with Kesslering scoring for Battlefords. In the second, Doell and Jordan Grill lit the lamp as the North Stars took a 3-2 lead into the second intermission. Kesslering and Bell scored in the third. Kotai finished with 32 saves.


Melfort Mustangs (29-16-5-4)

Aidyn Hutchinson scored in overtime on March 1 to lift the host Mustangs to a 4-3 win over Kindersley. Melfort led 2-1 after the first period, while Kindersley was up 3-2 at the second intermission. Mustang David Rioux forced overtime with a third period goal. Also scoring for Melfort were Ben Tkachuk and Kevin Minnoch. For the Mustangs, James Venne started in net and made 10 saves on 13 shots. Joel Favreau stopped all nine shots he faced in relief.

The Mustangs lost 6-1 to the La Ronge Ice Wolves in Melfort on March 3. On March 5 in Melfort, the visiting Hawks slipped by Melfort, 3-2, in a shootout. Nipawin had led 2-1 after two. Leyton Holoien tied things up in the third with a powerplay goal. Venne had 20 saves.


La Ronge Ice Wolves (31-18-3-2)

The La Ronge Ice Wolves romped past Melfort, 6-1, on the road on March 3. La Ronge led 1-0 and 4-1 at the intermissions. Ethan Strik scored twice for La Ronge. Also getting goals for the Ice Wolves were Parker Layton, Rylan Silzer, Kale Taylor and Jacob Cossette. La Ronge goalie Dawson Smith stopped all but one of the 34 shots the Mustangs sent at him.


Kindersley Klippers (13-32-4-5)

The Klippers picked up a point in the standings on March 4 in a 3-2 overtime loss to Weyburn at home. Logan Linklater scored both of Kindersley’s goals. His marker with less than a minute remaining forced overtime.

On March 1 in Melfort, the Klippers got another standings point with a 4-3 loss in overtime. After trailing 2-1 in the first period, Kindersley took a 3-2 lead in the second on goals by Kayden Ostrom and Aidan Bangs. Melfort tied things up in the third and won it in overtime. Klippers goalie Cody Jaman stopped 44 of 48 shots. On Feb. 28, the Klippers fell 5-3 in Nipawin. On March 5, Weyburn shut out Kindersley 2-0 on the road.


Melville Millionaires (13-34-5-1)

The Melville Millionaires are on a six-game losing streak.

The Millionaires lost 4-1 at home to Nipawin on March 1. They fell 8-4 at home to Yorkton on March 3. On March 4, in Yorkton, the Terriers beat Melville 5-3.


Notre Dame Hounds (19-26-4-2)

In the final 30 seconds of the contest on Feb. 28, Sam Kroon scored to propel the Hounds to a 5-4 home win over the Weyburn Red Wings. Notre Dame had led 2-0 in the first period, but Weyburn tied things up in the second by outscoring Notre Dame, 3-1.

Cyprus Smith-Davis (two), Jacob Ligi, and Vincent Palmarin had Notre Dame’s other goals. Tucker Inabinet made 36 saves.

Third period goals by Jaryd Sych and Carson Baylis helped the Hounds to a 3-2 home victory against Estevan on March 2. The teams had been tied at 1-1 at the intermissions. Smith-Davis scored Notre Dame’s first period goal. Inabinet made 40 saves.

The Bruins ended the Hounds’ two-game winning streak with a 6-2 victory on March 4 in Estevan.