The Battlefords North Stars and Humboldt Broncos are off to strong starts this Saskatchewan Junior Hockey League season.
Following the second weekend of play, those two squads as well as the Yorkton Terriers have undefeated records. The North Stars and Yorkton Terriers were 4-0-0-0 records while Humboldt was 3-0-0-0.
The SJHL Showcase started Sunday in Warman. The event features all 12 of the league’s teams playing two games in front of scouts from various higher levels of hockey.
“It is a nice place, a nice rink … You get to see all the teams play. Get to see how they are early in the season,” said Notre Dame Hounds captain Jaryd Sych, who has committed to play at NCAA Division I Merychurst University in Erie, Penn.
Battlefords North Stars (4-0-0-0)
This week the North Starts wrapped up three-game homestand with a perfect 3-0 record. They romped past Notre Dame, 6-1, and beat Melville, 6-3.
Against Notre Dame, Battlefords scored three times on six powerplay opportunities on Sept. 21. Steven Kesslering netted a hat trick and posted four points. Captain Jake Southgate scored twice while Keiton Klein had the North Stars’ other goal. Goalie Josh Kotai stopped all but one of the 41 shots he faced.
On Sept. 23, the Melville Millionaires led 2-1 early in the third period. Then the North Stars got rolling. They reeled off four straight goals and outscored Melville, 5-2, for the period. Six different players lit the lamp for Battlefords: Tynan Ewart, Jordan Grill, Southgate, Klein, Kesslering, and Colby Bear. Kotai made 26 saves.
At the Showcase, the North Stars play Weyburn on Tuesday and Melfort on Wednesday. The club heads to Melfort on Friday to play the Mustangs again.
Humboldt Broncos (3-0-0-0)
The Broncos earned two victories over Melfort last week. On Saturday, Ethan Zielke scored the overtime winner for a 3-2 victory at home. Humboldt had led 1-0 at the intermissions. Jace Benvie and captain Noah Barlage, a defenceman, had the Broncos’ other goals. Tristan Bolieau had 19 saves for Humboldt.
A four-goal first period helped the Broncos gallop to a 7-4 road victory Friday in Melfort. The Broncos were up 4-2 and 5-3 at the intermissions. With 30 saves, Bolieau earned his third straight SJHL victory. Seven different players lit the lamp for Humboldt: Samuel Marburg, Daylan Weigel, Zielke, Alec Saretzky, Cage Newans, Benvie, and Ben Kotylak. Newans’ goal came on a penalty shot.
The Broncos’ slate at the Showcase includes La Ronge on Monday and Estevan on Tuesday. The team heads to La Ronge for games on Friday and Saturday. The Broncos wrap up a busy week in Flin Flon on Sunday.
Melfort Mustangs (1-2-1-0)
The Mustangs lost twice last week to the Broncos in an SJHL horse race.
Last Saturday, the Mustangs trailed 1-0 at the intermissions in Humboldt. Third period goals by Riley Ashe and Leith Olafson, on a powerplay, sandwiched around a Broncos marker allowed Melfort to force overtime. Humboldt won 3-2. Joel Favreau made 24 saves for Melfort.
The Mustangs trailed 4-2 after the first period and 5-3 following the second Friday on the way to a 7-4 loss at home. Leyton Holoien, Dawson Leroux, Olafson, and Wyatt Day had the Mustangs’ goals. Favreau started and made six saves on 10 shots. Jackson Fellner stopped 13 of 16 shots in relief.
In the Showcase, Melfort plays Notre Dame on Tuesday and Battlefords on Wednesday. On Friday, the North Stars visit the Northern Lights Palace while the Notre Dame Hounds are there Saturday.
Nipawin Hawks (2-3-0-0)
A three-goal outburst in the third period lifted the Nipawin Hawks to the 6-3 home victory over Estevan on Wednesday. The contest had been knotted at 3-3 heading into the final frame.
Bryden Kiesman led the Hawks with a hattrick. Also scoring for the squad were Maguire Ratzlaff, Xavier-Francois Bedard, and Joel Mabin. Nolan McDowll’s 23 saves helped the Hawks to the win.
On Tuesday, it was the Bruins who were victorious in a 4-1 contest in Estevan. Ratzlaff had Nipawin’s goal. Reid Lalonde made 24 saves for the Hawks.
The Nipawin squad fell in its first game of the Showcase 3-0 to Yorkton. The Hawks conclude their time at the Showcase with a game against Estevan on Wednesday. Nipawin hosts the Notre Dame Hounds on Friday. On Saturday, the team is in Flin Flon.
La Ronge Ice Wolves (3-1-0-0-)
Dylan Handel and Ethan Strik each scored in the shootout on Friday as the Ice Wolves earned a 2-1 win on the road over the Flin Flon Bombers. Dawson Smith stopped 42 of the 43 shots he faced in regulation and overtime. He did not allow a goal in the shootout. Handel scored La Ronge’s goal in regulation.
In its first contest at the Showcase, La Ronge beat Kindersley, 4-1. The Ice Wolves led 2-1 and 3-1 at the intermissions. Captain Jerome Walker led La Rone with two goals. Strik and Hunter Burgeson also scored for the Ice Wolves.
The Ice Wolves’ second Showcase game is Monday against Humboldt. The club opens a four-game homestand on Friday. The Broncos are in town Friday and Saturday.
Kindersley Klippers (0-3-0-2)
On Saturday at home, Tylin Hilbig scored late in regulation on a powerplay to force overtime and guarantee the Klippers a point in the standings. The contest went to a shootout. Melville scored twice and the Klippers were unable to find the back of the net. The Millionaires came away with a 4-3 win. Hilbig had two goals for Kindersley while Spencer Paplawski netted one. Klippers goalie Logan Falk made 27 saves.
It was the Klippers’ second straight shootout loss. They fell 5-4 on the road to Notre Dame last Tuesday. Aidan Bangs lit the lamp in the shootout, but the Hounds had two goals. In regulation, Ethan Hilbig scored two second period goals while Cash Arntsen and Liam Bell had third period markers. Colton Phillips Watts recorded 19 saves.
On Sunday, the Klippers fell 4-1 to La Ronge in its Showcase opener. Kindersley plays Yorkton Monday at the Showcase. The team plays in Flin Flon on Friday and Saturday.
Melville Millionaires (1-2-0-0)
The Melville Millionaires picked up their first victory of the season with a 4-3 shootout victory over the Kindersley Klippers on the road on Saturday. Noah Wills and Payton Kostyshyn both scored in the shootout to lift the Millionaires to the win. Melville netminder Kelton Pyne did not
allow a shootout goal and made 32 saves. Scoring in regulation for the Millionaires were Wills, Boston Harkness, and Louis-Frederic Theberge.
The Millionaires fell 6-3 Friday on the road to Battlefords. Captain Zach Cain, Noah Wills, and Ashton Boschmann had Melville’s goals. Jared Thompson made 34 saves for the club.
At the Legends Centre in Warman, Melville tangles with Notre Dame on Monday and Flin Flon on Tuesday. The Millioaires are in Weyburn on Saturday.
Notre Dame Hounds (1-2-0-0)
On Sept. 20, the Hounds earned their first win of the season in dramatic fashion. Will Dawson and Sych both scored in the shootout to list the team to a 5-4 victory. Aidan Bangs had Kindersley’s lone shootout goal.
On the road, Notre Dame led 1-0 after the first period. Kindersley was up 2-1 at the second intermission. Scoring for the Hounds in regulation were Sych (two), Dawson, and Sam Kroon. Tucker Inabinet backstopped the Hounds with 32 saves.
Against Battlefords on Sept. 21, the Notre Dame squad fell 6-1 on the road. Ryland Hueging scored the Hounds’ goal. Inabinet made 26 saves.
In Warman this week, the Hounds take on Melville on Monday. They play Melfort on Tuesday. The Hounds head to Nipawin on Friday and Melfort on Saturday.