Sept 16, 2013 - The Melfort Mustangs shocked most of Saskatchewan last spring when they not only swept the Battlefords North Stars in the first round of the playoffs, but also took game one from the Humboldt Broncos in the North Semi-Final.
The 2012/2013 Melfort Mustangs were never a bad team, they just struggled to score and when you can’t put pucks in the net, winning won’t come easy.
Jesse Wilkins was once again the team’s MVP standing on his head down the playoff stretch and making more saves in the first two rounds of the playoffs than any goalie in the league.
With Wilkins committing to Bemidji for the upcoming season, and returning netminder Patrick Johnson being dealt to Manitoba, the Mustangs goaltending tandem will be a pair of fresh faces.
Head Coach Gavin Holcomb has been busy this off-season tweaking the roster almost weekly. As mentioned, goalie Patrick Johnson now calls the Selkirk Steelers home, while Brennan Bosovich is headed to the OCN Blizzard. Forward Brady Goebel was sent back to Whitecourt in the AJHL while forward Jarret Zentner has decided to retire from the game of hockey to pursue his education.
The most notable trade for the Mustangs was the acquisition of 20-year old goaltender Mitch Maraschiello from the Drayton Valley Thunder for 18-year old defenseman Preston Eshenko. Maraschiello has big shoes to fill with the departure of Wilkins, but will have an impressive defense corps ahead of him for support.
Third year veteran Matt Saunderson will return to anchor a blueline that will be extremely deep. Returnees Jay Aasen and David Heath along with newcomers Zak Hicks and Dawven Berggren will be counted on to log big minutes but with plenty of recruits coming to fall camp, the battle for 6 spots will be a strong one.
Up front the Mustangs will rely heavily on their 19-year old crop of Regan Wilton, Adam Fauchoux, Jamie Miller and Cole Hyrsky to do the scoring. Mix in 20-year olds Anthony Pickering and Brandon Sloan, and the Mustangs could be set for an offensive explosion.
As for grit, The Mustangs return 19 year olds Sheldon Argent and Bryden Serafini. Two players who wear their heart on their sleeve and do the little things required to win hockey games.
Both will be relied on to be leaders on and off the ice.
The entire group has a bitter taste in their mouth from the playoffs last season and with a year of experience under their belt; the success of this young hockey club is sure to continue.