The Melfort Mustangs and Nipawin Hawks renew their SJHL rivalry tonight for the first time in 2018-19! The Hawks and Mustangs will meet 10 times over the course of the season and it’s hard to believe it took this long to get our first game! Following tonight’s 7:30pm contest at the Palace the two teams meet in Nipawin tomorrow for the back half of a home and home.
For Melfort they dropped their most recent game at the hands of the La Ronge Ice Wolves. Previous to that, Melfort won 4 straight and started to really turn the corner offensively. Through 9 games the Mustangs have scored 40 goals. With games in hand over most teams, that’s the second most goals for in the SJHL. Trailing only the 12 games played Flin Flon Bombers. Melfort has been led offensively by Justin Ball and Carson Albrecht. Both Mustang forwards sit in the top 12 in SJHL scoring with Ball currently in 5th. In their last contest Ball scored his league leading 10th goal of the season. He’s since been passed by two Flin Flon Bombers who have already played 2 games this week. Ball is the ONLY player in the SJHL that has more goals, then games played. For Carson Albrecht, he’s been right beside Ball every step of the way. Albrecht’s 13 points sit second between Mustangs, and his 9 assists are tied with Kayle Tosh for the most on the team. Interesting note, if you count Dryden Michaud and Tulsen Fawcett who have only played a few games, the Melfort Mustangs have 9 players on the team that are currently scoring at a Point Per Game pace, which is completely outrageous. To compare, Nipawin only has 2 players currently at the same pace, Austen Flaman and Mackenzie Macdonald. To put that into perspective even more, there’s 43 players in the SJHL scoring at a PPG pace, Melfort has 9 of those 43.
The Nipawin Hawks come into tonight’s game with the highest winning percentage in the SJHL, and rightfully so. Declan Hobbs and Patrick Pugliese sit 1st and 7th in the SJHL in GAA as well as 1st and 5th in save percentage. Both Nipawin goaltenders have been great this season putting up solid numbers. The Nipawin Hawks were ranked 1st in the CJHL as they were undefeated through 6 games. They’ve now dropped 2 of their last 3 as Kindersley and Battlefords have gotten the better of them. Offensively the Hawks are led by Austen Flaman, Arik Breton and Jordan Simoneau. The three have combined for 9 goals and 25 points on the season.
The weekend is a big one for both teams. For Melfort they have a chance to climb right back into the race for the Sher-Wood Division, and with two wins could actually pass the Hawks in the Standings. For Nipawin, they started the season so strong and with 2 wins over their biggest rivals could start to open some separation in the standings.
Tonight’s game begins at 7:30pm from the Northern Lights Palace. The teams rematch tomorrow night in Nipawin at the same time. Both games this weekend can be heard on CK750 with Mat Barrett, the exclusive voice of the Melfort Mustangs!