This past weekend resulted in some major success for your Melfort Mustangs. Two huge wins combine for a weekend sweep, and a couple of our players were recognized by the league for their contributions.
The weekend began with the Notre Dame Hounds coming to town to try and close the two point gap between our teams, while Melfort was looking for a win to stay above 500 on the season. With the current league leader in points playing for the Hound, the Mustangs knew that shutting down Ben Duperreault would be a major factor in their success, but both teams showed up on defense and offense to deliver a treat to the fans. A back and forth game with a lot of play in the neutral zone left the first period tied at one, with Melforts goal coming 2 minutes in courtesy of Jaxon Joseph and assisted by Tyler Heidt and Tanner Zentner. Notre Dame’s goal came on the power play, which was strong for them as they capitalized on two out of three man advantages throughout the game.
The second period was much more of the same two way action that dominated the first. Notre Dame was exceptional in their shot blocking, while Melfort was stingy on the defense, not allowing shooting opportunities to arise, and when they did, Evan Plotnik was there to make the stops. After 40 minutes of play the score remained 1-1.
The third period continued to show just how evenly matched these teams were as most of the action took place between the blue lines. Both teams managed a power play goal, with Kayle Tosh capitalizing on a set-up from Sam Houston and Matt Hermary. Regulation time didn’t settle anything, and we had to go to overtime to find a winner for this game.
Halfway through the extra frame Notre Dame took a penalty for boarding, and that would be their eventual downfall. With the exceptional advantage of 4 on 3 hockey, Melfort was able to control the play in Hounds’ territory, and Dakota Boutin would be the hero of the game. Assists from Reed Gunville and Andrew Thompson would help Boutin bury the game winning goal three minutes and twenty eight second into the extra frame. This was an exemplary team effort for the Mustangs, as nine different players all left the ice with a single point.
Saturday night was an interesting night for the Mustangs, as they hit the road to play a home game in Kinistino, home of the Kinistino Tigers Senior Men’s team. The game capped off a very successful hockey weekend in Kinistino, which featured hockey from all ages, including a senior hockey game, minor hockey of all ages, and a pancake breakfast with speakers from local sporting legends. The Mustangs seemed to get on board with the enthusiasm and delivered an exceptional game for the fans in the small town.
La Ronge rolled into town with a very young team, having committed to rebuilding next year and unloading some of their more experienced players prior to deadline, but that didn’t stop them from putting up a contest in the first period. Melfort managed only a single goal in the opening frame, when Matt Goudy registered a goal with help from veteran Braxx George, and Kinistino’s own Layne Cay who joined the Mustangs as an AP for the neutral site game. The second period saw a drastic change, as Melfort’s experience began to wear on the younger Ice Wolves team.
The second period was very point heavy for the Mustangs, who netted 5 goals in the 20 minute span. Gunville opened the charge on the power play a minute into the second, with assists going to Adam Hergott and Kalem Zary. That goal was followed by Andrew Thompson (assisted by Boutin), Boutin (assisted by Thompson and Rock Ruschkowski), Boutin (assisted by Thompson and Hergott) and finally Miles Warkentine scored on the power play (assisted by Boutin and Tosh). La Ronge managed to break Derrick Hucul’s hopes for a shut-out in this period with their first goal of the night coming with 2 minutes to play before the second intermission.
The third period was lighter in terms of scoring, but it still saw some goals going both ways. Boutin completed his hat-trick less than a minute in, (assisted by Heidt and Warkentine) and Kinistino product Cay logged his second SJHL point when he and Hermary contributed an assist on a goal by Tyler Heidt. La Ronge would add one more goal, and the game would finish 8-2 in favour of the Mustangs.
Dakota Boutin was on fire this weekend, registering 6 points in two games and earning SJHL Player of the Week status, while Tyler Heidt claimed the runner up spot for SJHL Defenseman of the week, being beaten out by former Mustang Eric Sinclair. The two weekend wins increase Melfort’s record to 19-17-2-4 for a total of 44 points and a sixth place spot in the league. The Mustangs will be hitting the road tomorrow night (Tuesday, January 24th) to compete against the Flin Flon Bombers, followed by a southern road trip on the weekend to play Estevan and Weyburn. They will be back at home on February 1st to play the Bombers again, but on home ice.