The Melfort Mustangs played a tough game against the Weyburn Redwings Tuesday night, and although it didn't end the way Melfort fans had wanted, it was a hard fought game with many positives to take away. There were negatives, as in all games, but losing to a top 5 team because of a goal in the last 3 minutes is commendable.
Melfort played with Weyburn the entire game, applying pressure and getting pucks towards the net. Weyburn's goals came from quality chances, capitalizing on catching Melfort out of position, and using some good passing and rebounding options. Weyburn was up 2-0 after the first ten minutes of the game when Melfort responded with a goal from Andrew Thompson, his first as a Mustang, brought the 'Stangs back within one. Thompson's goal was assisted by Melfort's newest skater Bret Schwengler, and Dakota Boutin. The Red Wings would pot another one shortly after, but Tyler Heidt would quickly respond with an assist from Jaxon Joseph. The first period would finish with Melfort trailing by one, 3-2.
Second period was arguably Weyburn's strongest period, limiting Melfort to six shots and no goals, while netting one themselves and improving their lead to 4-2. We should mention that although Melfort's Shot total was only 12 after the second period, the Mustangs were getting pucks to the net. Several of their shots went just high, or just wide.
Melfort got to work closing the gap early in the third period, scoring just 41 seconds into the frame when Rock Ruschkowski brought the game within one again. Dakota Boutin and Tyler Heidt assited the goal, and Melfort kept the pressure up. Four minutes later Jaxon Joseph would net a power play goal from Kalem Zary, and Tyler Heidt, who has been having an exceptional night. Melfort and Weyburn seemed equally matched at this point, but Weyburn had the tide turn when they had the opportunity to chase down a cleared puck. Weyburn's speed and positioning got them the go ahead goal, because although Derrick Hucul easily stopped the first shot on the break, another Weyburn skater had the jump on an easy rebound. 5-4 Weyburn with 2 minutes and 54 seconds left. Hucul would vacate the net for an extra attacker with 1:21 left in the game, but Melfort couldn't capitalize on their chances, and Weyburn won the contest.
Derrick Hucul faced 36 shots from the opposition, and played a good game despite the outcome. Some shots are just set up to well to be stopped. Andrew Thompson got his first goal as a Mustang, Jaxon Joseph and Dakota Boutin both had two points on the night, but Melfort's key player of the evening would have to go to Tyler Heidt. Registering a goal and two assists, the left winger turned defenseman is defining himself on the back end with smart positioning in every zone and good puck movement. The Mustangs sit in a crowded area of the standings, despite being in 11th out of 12 overall, they are only a single point back of the 8th place Yorkton Terriers.
The Mustangs will look to close that gap when the Humboldt Broncos come to town on Saturday night, puck drop at 7:30pm.