The SJHL Finals begin tonight! The Melfort Mustangs and Battleford North Stars kick off the series for the coveted Canalta Cup in North Battleford. Games 1 and 2 of the Finals go tonight and tomorrow. Games 3 and 4 go back in Melfort on Tuesday and Wednesday.
The Melfort Mustangs are into the Finals after series wins over the Kindersley Klippers and Estevan Bruins. Riding the hot goaltending of Noah Giesbrecht it took the Mustangs just 11 games to advance to their third Canalta Cup in five years, following back to back championships in 2015 and 2016. Giesbrecht has an 8-1 record in the playoffs with a 1.99 Goals Against Average and a .941 Save Percentage. The save he made in Game 6 against Estevan with 11 minutes left, tied 2-2 has now gone viral. Giesbrecht reached back behind himself and made a save on the Bruin with the paddle of his stick. Following the save Justin Ball scored on an in tight breakaway to give the Mustangs the 3-2 lead, and win the series in 6 games. Justin Ball and Carson Albrecht lead the team in scoring with 15 and 14 points respectively. Albrecht leads the playoffs in goals with 10 while Ball sits second with 6.
The Battleford North Stars are into the finals after knocking off the Flin Flon Bombers and Yorkton Terriers. Also riding a hot goaltender Joel Gryzbowski, it took the North Stars 11 games to get into the Canalta Cup Finals. Gryzbowski has an 8-3 playoff record. He leads the SJHL with a 1.40 Goals Against Average and a .959 Save Percentage. Gryzbowski currently sits with a 198 minute shutout streak, the longest in the SJHL this season. For the North Stars it’s their second trip to the Finals in three seasons, after winning the Canalta Cup in 12 straight games in 2017. Up front the offence has come from Quintin Loon-Stewardson. In 11 games Loon-Stewardson has 6 goals and 13 points to lead all North Stars.
Canalta Cup Schedule:
Game 1 – Fri Apr 12 Melfort @ Battleford
Game 2 – Sat Apr 13 Melfort @ Battleford
Game 3 – Tues Apr 16 Battleford @ Melfort
Game 4 – Wed Apr 17 Battleford @ Melfort
*Game 5 – Fri Apr 19 Melfort @ Battleford*
*Game 6 – Sun Apr 21 Battleford @ Melfort*
*Game 7 – Tue Apr 23 Melfort @ Battleford*
Each Game of the SJHL Finals can be heard on CK750. Puck drop is 7:30pm each night with the pre game show at 7:15pm.
The winner of the Canalta Cup will meet the winner of the Manitoba Junior Hockey League in the Anavet Cup, a best of 7 series to determine the West representative in the RBC Cup in Brooks, Alberta, in May.