After the first weekend of the Saskatchewan Junior Hockey League’s regular season, four teams sported undefeated records.
The Battlefords North Stars and Yorkton Terriers swept their weekend home-and-home series. The Humboldt Broncos and Weyburn Red Wings each won the lone game they played over the weekend.
On Sept. 25-28, the league hosts its annual SJHL Showcase in Warman. The annual event brings the league’s 12 teams together to compete in front of scouts from various levels of hockey, including major junior, NCAA, and U Sports. Each team plays two contests.
Battlefords North Stars vs Kindersley Klippers
The Battlefords North Stars came from behind on Friday night to beat Kindersley, 4-3, on the road. On the next night, the North Stars used a three-goal third period to defeat the Klippers, 5-1 at home.
In front of 1,004 in Kindersley on Friday, the North Stars took a 1-0 first period lead. The Klippers lit the lamp three times in the second and the North Stars scored twice so the teams entered the final period knotted at 3-3. Keiton Klein delivered the game winner in the third. Goalie Josh Kotai stopped all 11 shots he faced in the third period after coming on in relief of Lowen Kenyon, who had 26 saves on 29 shots. Cody Jaman made 34 saves for Kindersley.
On Saturday, the North Stars never trailed in front of their 1,205 fans. They held leads of 1-0 and 2-0 at the intermissions. The Klippers scored once in the third, but Battlefords answered with three goals. Klein and Emmett Wurst each scored twice for Battlefords. Kotai made 31 saves to earn the win. Spencer Paplawski had Kindersley’s lone goal. Colton Phillips Watts stopped 43 of the 48 shots he faced.
The North Stars host the Notre Dame Hounds on Wednesday and Melville on Friday. The Klippers play host to Notre Dame on Tuesday and Melville on Saturday. The Kindersley team opens its time at the SJHL Showcase on Sunday against La Ronge.
Humboldt Broncos vs Notre Dame Hounds
With a four-goal second period, the Broncos romped to a 7-2 victory over the Notre Dame Hounds on opening night at home in front of 1,152. Humboldt led 1-0 after the first and 5-1 after the second.
Ben Kotylak and Lucas Ceccarelli each scored twice for Humboldt. Broncos goalie Tristan Boileau made 12 saves.
Will Dawson and Antoine Saint-Onge had Notre Dame’s goals. Ashton Billesberger made 31 saves on 37 shots. He was relieved by Zane Winter who stopped all but one of the 18 shots he faced.
The Broncos scored three times on 12 powerplay opportunities, while Notre Dame had one goal with the man advantage on six chances. Notre Dame had 22 infractions for 111 penalty minutes. Humboldt had 76 penalty minutes on 14 infractions. On Sunday, the SJHL announced that the Hounds’ Vincent Palmarin had been suspended two games for a major blow to the head penalty.
The league announced that due to “unforeseen circumstances” the two team’s game Sunday in Wilcox would be postponed until March 14. The Broncos are in Melfort on Friday. They host the Mustangs on Saturday. The team opens the Showcase on Monday against La Ronge.
The Hounds play in Kindersley on Tuesday and North Battleford on Wednesday. The team is then off until playing Melville on Monday in Warman.
La Ronge Ice Wolves
The Ice Wolves split their games on opening weekend. On Friday, they opened the season with a 7-4 home win over Nipawin in front of 577. On Saturday, the La Rong team fell 5-1 to Melfort on the road.
On Friday, the Ice Wolves outshot the Hawks, 20-9, and outscored them, 3-0 in the first period. In the next frame, the hosts scored twice but the Hawks lit the lamp four times. La Ronge led 5-4 at the second intermission. In the third, the Ice Wolves added an even strength goal and an empty net marker. Six players scored for La Ronge, including Ethan Strik, who had two goals. Dawson Smith stopped 41 of the 43 shots he faced. The Ice Wolves fired 52 shots at Hawks netminder Nolan McDowell, who had 46 saves. La Ronge’s Seth Dragan was suspended two games on Saturday for a major crosschecking penalty called during Friday’s game.
The Ice Wolves play in Flin Flon on Friday. On Sunday, they take on Kindersley at the Showcase.
After falling 2-0 on the road to Flin Flon on Friday, the Mustangs rebounded for a 5-1 home victory over La Ronge in front of 856 on Saturday.
Against the Ice Wolves, the Mustangs galloped to a 2-0 first period lead. They were up 4-1 at the second intermission. Five different players scored for Melfort: Aiden Wildeman, Leith Olfason, Clarke Huxley, Aidyn Hutchinson, and Logan Cox. Mustangs goalie Joel Favreau only allowed one goal on 19 shots. Topher Chirico of La Ronge faced 30 shots and made 25 saves.
In front of 1,149 in Flin Flon Friday, the Mustangs and Bombers were deadlocked at 0-0 after two periods. Cole Duperreault scored even strength and then added an empty strength goal to power Flin Flon to the win. Favreau made 29 saves. Harmon Laser-Hume stopped all 34 shots he faced.
The Mustangs host the Humboldt Broncos on Friday. The two teams play again on Saturday in Humboldt. The Mustangs start their Showcase on Tuesday against Notre Dame.
The Hawks earned a 5-2 win over Flin Flon on Saturday after falling 7-4 to La Ronge on Friday.
Playing in front 584 fans at home on Saturday, the Hawks scored four straight goals in the second period. The Bombers were able to get one, but Nipawin led 4-1 going into the final frame. Each team scored twice in the third.
Braxton Buckberger led Npawin with two goals. Reid Lalonde made 25 saves in the win. Harmon Laser-Hume stopped 19 shots for Flin Flon.
The Hawks host the defending champion Estevan Bruins on Tuesday and Wednesday. On Sunday, they play the Yorkton Terriers in Warman.
In their lone contest of the weekend, the Millionaires fell 4-2 at home to Weyburn in front of 966. Weyburn led 2-0 and 4-1 at the intermissions. Nicolas Samson and Aiden Robson scored for Melville. For the Millionaires, Alexis Giroux made 32 saves. His Weyburn counterpart, Boston Gelowitz, had 32 saves.
The Millionaires travel to play the North Stars on Friday and Kindersley on Saturday. Their SJHL Showcase starts on Monday against Notre Dame.