The top two teams in the Saskatchewan Junior Hockey League split their games against each other over the weekend.
On Friday, the Battlefords North Stars used four third period goals to beat Humboldt 5-2 in North Battleford. The next night the Broncos prevailed 3-2 in overtime in Humboldt.
“It was some really good games versus a very good opponent,” Battlefords head coach Brayden Klimosko said. “I think that’s a way you get better as a club by playing a high-end team like Humboldt.”
Yet to lose in regulation this season, the North Stars top the league standings with a 15-0-0-1-1 record and 32 points. The Humboldt squad is second with a 13-3-0-0 record and 26 points. In third are the Flin Flon Bombers, 11-3-1-1 for 24 points.
The Broncos led 2-1 after two periods last Friday. The North Stars reeled off four unanswered goals to surpass Humboldt and earn the victory in front of 996 fans. Two of those third period goals and three of the North Stars’ markers on the night came with the man advantage. Battlefords was 3-for-8 on the power play. Five different players scored for Battlefords: Kian Bell, Colby Bear, Jake Southgate, Steven Kesslering, and Jordan Grill. Things got physical in the third period. For the game, Humboldt was whistled for 18 infractions for 87 penalty minutes while Battlefords received 15 for 86.
In front of 1,180 on Saturday at the Elgar Petersen Arena, the Broncos led 1-0 after the first period thanks to an Alec Saretzky goal. In the second frame, Evan Waldie tied the game for the North Stars but Cage Newans put Humboldt ahead, 2-1, with a powerplay goal. On a third period powerplay, Riley Girod tied the contest at 2-2. Lucas Ceccarelli delivered the winning goal 1:47 into overtime. Humboldt goalie Tristan Boileau made 26 saves, while Josh Kotai had 39.
Battlefords North Stars (15-0-0-1-1)
Before taking on the Broncos, Battlefords beat the Estevan Bruins, 7-2 on Oct. 25. The North Stars’ depth was on display as seven different players scored. Justem Maric earned his fourth win of the year with 38 saves.
The North Stars are on the road this week. They play in Estevan on Friday, Weyburn on Saturday and in Wilcox, against Notre Dame, on Sunday.
Humboldt Broncos (13-3-0-0)
Before they headed to North Battleford, the Broncos doubled up the Yorkton Terriers, 6-3, on the road on Oct. 26. Humboldt led 3-1 and 5-3 at the intermissions. Jacob Boucher had two goals for the Broncos. The visitors outshot the hosts, 43-25.
The Broncos head south this week. They play in Estevan on Thursday and Saturday with a Friday contest against Weyburn sandwiched in between.
Melfort Mustangs (7-7-4-0)
The Mustangs had a three-game winning streak snapped in La Ronge, 4-1, on Saturday. James Venne made 24 saves on 27 shots. Wyatt Day had Melfort’s goal.
With a trio of third-period goals, the Mustangs got by the Weyburn Red Wings, 4-2, at home on Oct. 26. Weyburn had led 1-0 and 2-1 at the intermissions. Ryan Duguay scored to tie the game in the third and Clarke Huxley put the Mustangs up, 3-2. Captain Ben Tkachuk added an empty net goal. Melfort outshot the visitors a whopping 47-12. Mustangs goalie Joel Favreau made 10 saves.
The Mustangs take on the Sherwood Division-leading Flin Flon Bombers at the Northern Lights Palace on Wednesday.
Nipawin Hawks (6-9-1-1)
The Hawks split their two home games against the Weyburn Red Wings on the weekend.
On Saturday, in the second of the back-to-back home contests, Nipawin won 4-3 in a shootout. Four players shot for Nipawin with Alex Ochitwa and Carson Dobson finding the back of the net. For Weyburn, only Ethan Whillans was able to get one past Jackson Fellner.
In regulation, Rylan Lefebvre and Maguire Ratzlaff, on a power play, put Nipawin up 2-0 in the first period. Before the end of the frame, Weyburn answered with two goals of its own to tie things up at 2-2. There no further scoring until the third when the Red Wings went up 3-2. Eric Robbie of Nipawin knotted the contest at 3-3. Fellner had 29 saves. For Weybun, Eric Kahl stopped 36 of the 39 shots he faced.
At home on Oct. 28, the Nipawin team lost 4-1 to Weyburn. The Red Wings led 1-0 after the first period and 2-0 following the second. Joel Mabin had the Hawks’ goal.
The Hawks host the La Ronge Ice Wolves on Friday. The next night they are in Melville to play the Millionaires.
La Ronge Ice Wolves (10-6-1-0)
On Saturday, the Ice Wolves used a three-goal third period outburst to beat the Melfort Mustangs, 4-1. The game had been scoreless after the first period. In the second, Melfort scored first but Walker Jerome tied the score at 1-1 on the powerplay. Blake Ekren-Bratton put the Ice Wolves on top in the third. Jacob Visentini made it 3-1 with a power play goal. Jerome got his second goal of the night on an empty net marker. Dawson Smith stopped all but one of the 28 shots he faced.
Mid-week the Ice Wolves split a set of games with Melville. On Oct. 25, La Ronge romped to a 5-1 victory. The Ice Wolves were 2-for-9 on the power play. Five different players scored for the Ice Wolves. Topher Chirico made 20 saves for La Ronge.
The next night Melville won 5-3. The contest was tied 1-1 after the first period. Melville was up 3-2 at the second intermission. Two of La Ronge’s three goals came on the powerplay where the Ice Wolves were 2-for-7.
The Ice Wolves are in Nipawin on Friday. After that they start a six-game homestand on Nov. 8 against Kindersley.
Kindersley Klippers (4-7-0-3)
Kindersley earned a point in the standings in a 3-2 shootout loss to the Estevan Bruins at home on Oct. 26. None of the Klippers’ four shooters scored in the shootout. Kade Runke had the winning goal for Estevan. Kindersley led 2-1 going into the third, but Estevan was able to tie things up. Klippers goalie Cody Jaman made 37 saves.
The Klippers are off until they head to La Ronge on Nov. 8.
Melville Millionaires (6-10-1-1)
The Millionaires lost twice on the weekend in Flin Flon. On Saturday, Melville fell 5-4. Melville led 3-1 with two minutes to go in the second period. The Bombers tied things up before the period ended and then outscored the Millionaires 2-1 in the final frame. Captain Zach Cain (shorthanded), Cole Larocque, Boston Harkness, and Noah Wills scored for Melville.
Flin Flon scored three of its four goals on the powerplay Friday en route to a 4-1 win over Melville on Friday. Cain scored the Millionaires’ lone goal. Kelton Pyne had 32 saves for Melville.
Melville fell 5-1 on the road to the La Ronge Ice Wolves on Oct 25. The next night, still in La Ronge, the Millionaires won 5-3. Five different Melville players scored. Cain recorded three points. Clement Labillois turned away 38 of the 41 shots he faced.
On Oct. 28, the Millionaires fell 4-2 on the road to the Flin Flon Bombers. Flin Flon had three power play goals.
The Millionaires are in Wilcox to play Notre Dame on Wednesday. On Saturday, the squad hosts the Nipawin Hawks.
Notre Dame Hounds (6-8-1-1)
Four third-period goals gave Notre Dame a 6-5 victory over Yorkton on Oct. 27. The Hounds led 1-0 after the first period. The Terriers scored four in the second frame to take a 4-2 lead. Evan Vanden Heuvel led the Hounds with two goals and three points. For Notre Dame, Johann Tremblay-Kau stopped 34 of the 39 shots he faced.
The Hounds fell Saturday to Estevan, 5-2, on the road. After the Bruins led 3-0 at the first intermission, both teams scored two in the second. That wrapped up the offensive output for the game. Jacob Ligi and Cyprus Smith-Davis scored for Notre Dame.
The Hounds have a three-game homestand this week. They host Melville on Wednesday, Yorkton on Friday, and Battlefords on Sunday.