Tayler Thompson got the Yorkton Terriers on the board just 1:12 in to the opening period, but after that, the Melfort Mustangs sleeping giant awoke and they scored 5 unanswered goals to win 5-1 and clinch a playoff spot for the first time in 2 seasons thanks in part to a 6-1 La Ronge loss on Friday.
Brandon Sloan responded to Thompson's goal with a bullet wrister from the top of the left circle. That goal came midway through in the opening period at 13:18, with assists on that goal to Brandon Formosa and Cody Brown, whose father made the trip up from Hussar, Ab to watch his son's potential final home game of the season(turns out, it WASN'T!). Early in the period, Godric Tham ran his man in to the boards from behind on a reactionary play. No injury was suffered but Tham still received the gate, but that's okay because his 25th Anniversary jersey raised over $500.00. Shots were 13-8 in the first as Melfort played better Hockey in the second half of the period.
Matt Saunderson would add his 1st of 2 assists on the night just 3:22 in to the middle frame on the powerplay, as he set up Brady Goebel's 5th of the season for the Mustang one goal lead. Jarrett Zentner also picked up a helper. Brandon Sloan would continue his hot night at the 6:46 mark when he fired the puck on Dawson MacAuley, who struggled all night, as Brandon Formosa buried the rebound at a awkward angle to put the Mustangs up 2 goals with the Mission, BC products' team leading 17th goal of the season. Melfort outshot Yorkton 16-5 in the second and had all 838 faithful on the edge of their seats heading in to the final frame.
Sloan must have been upset Formosa took over the team lead in goals, but just after the 6 minute mark in the 3rd period, Sloan added his 2nd of the night on a near identical shot as his 1st one. This shot wasn't as high off the ice, but the speed of it was too much for Dawson McAuley to watch go by him, as his night ended early getting the yank in place of Kale Thomson. Thomson wouldn't stay out long, before MacAuley made his way back to the net after perhaps mentally readjusting. Once #33 was back in, #28 added #18 to increase the lead to 4 goals and regain his place as the goal scoring leader on the Green and Blue. The goal came unassisted as the goalie made the initial stop but Formosa banged away at the side of the net with the puck still loose. 8-6 were the shots in favor of Melfort in the final frame, as the Mustangs held on to a 5-1 win and witha La Ronge loss, clinched a playoff spot for the first time under Head Coach Gavin Holcomb.
Melfort was 2/5 on the powerplay, but 6 times the penalty killers successfully killed off a Terrier man advantage. Jesse Wilkins had yet another great start for Melfort, stopping 23 of 24 that came his way. MacAuley made 26 stops while Thomson in relief had to make a single save.
Matt Saunderson was the Third Star of the night, Brandon Formosa was Second Star, and Brandon Sloan was the games First Star as Sloan and Formosa ach picked up 2+1 and Saunderson 0+2.
On the regular season, with one game remaining, the Mustangs are now 19-29-3-2 and sit 5th in the conference, setting up a first round Survivor Series with the Battlefords North Stars. To get there first, the Mustangs must finish the regular season Tuesday night in Flin Flon. Branden Crowe has the call on CK750 beginning at 7:15.
The playoff schedule will be released as soon as possible on YourTownNews.ca and MelfortMustangs.com as well as SJHL.ca. CK750 will broadcast ALL playoff games, home and away with Branden Crowe and Dustin Scafe.