The Melfort Mustangs and Estevan Bruins will kick off Game 1 tonight of the SJHL Semi Finals from the Northern Lights Palace in Melfort! It’s game 1 of what should be a great series. The winner will move into the SJHL Finals and meet the winner of the other Semi-Final, between the Battleford North Stars and Yorkton Terriers. For Melfort the last time they went to the finals was in 2016 when they won the Canalta Cup for a second straight season. For Estevan the last time they reached the finals was just last year, losing to Nipawin in 7 games!
The Mustangs are the most rested team heading into round number 2. After defeating the Kindersley Klippers in just 5 games the Melfort boys have had a full week of rest, preparation and practice. Despite winning the series in only 5 games, the battle with Kindersley was a lot closer than it maybe looks. Of the 5 games in the series, four of which were decided by just one goal, including Kindersley’s only win, coming in Game 4 in OT.
Part of the reason for the quick series was due in part to the goaltender battle between Justen Close and Noah Giesbrecht/Shawn Parkinson. The goaltender of the year Justen Close ends his season with a 1-4 playoff record this year, and a 1-8 record all time in the post season. In 5 games he recorded a .922 Save Percentage with a 2.70 Goals Against Average. For Melfort’s Noah Giesbrecht, he went 4-0 in his 4 playoff games and put up a .939 Save Percentage and 2.00 Goals Against Average. Justin Ball and Carson Albrecht also picked up where they left off in the regular season. Combining for 9 goals and 5 assists for 14 points the duo have been rolling right into the post season. From the back end Jake Hobson has been big. He scored twice in the series with Kindersley and chipped in three assists as well.
The Estevan Bruins needed the full 7 games plus overtime to eliminate the Humboldt Broncos and advance to the SJHL Semi-Finals. After trailing the series 3-1, the Bruins completed the rare feat and came all the way back winning the last 3 games of the series. Bruins Goaltender Grant Boldt didn’t have a great start to the playoffs, even getting pulled in Game 4. But he bounced back and has been outstanding the last 3 games of the series. The Bruins have a lot of depth scoring up front. They’ve been led by Turner Ripplinger who has scored a goal and added 6 assists. Following Ripplinger, the Bruins have 5 scorers who all have 5 points, Jake Heerspink, Jayden Davis, Devan Harrison, Will Koop and Tanner Manz.
Game 1 – Mar 29 2019 in Melfort
Game 2 – Mar 30 2019 in Melfort
Game 3 – Apr 2 2019 in Estevan
Game 4 – Apr 3 2019 in Estevan
Game 5 – Apr 5 2019 in Melfort*
Game 6 – Apr 7 2019 in Estevan*
Game 7 – Apr 9 2019 in Melfort *
Tickets for games in Melfort can be bought online at tickets.melfortmustangs.com.
All 7 games of the series will be broadcast on CK750 with Mat Barrett. Pre Game show begins at 7:15pm each night with puck drop at 7:30pm!
Photo Credit: Broad Leaf Media