The calendar has turned to 2023 and you can smell the playoffs getting closer by the day in the SJHL. For the Melfort Mustangs, they’ve played 32 games, or 57.1% of their schedule and currently sit sixth in the SJHL standings with a 17-9-5-1 record, good for 40 points. They’re just five points back of the second place La Ronge Ice Wolves.
It may have not been an ideal start for the Mustangs, starting 3-5-4-0, but over the last 13 games, the Mustangs have been one of the hottest teams in the league, and nobody wants to enter the Northern Lights Palace. Melfort is 10-1-1-1 over their last 13 games, which included a stretch of 11 straight games without a regulation loss. The goal scoring has also picked up big time for the Mustangs who can’t seem to miss when playing at home. They’ve scored 34 goals over their last five games on home ice, an average of 6.8 per-game.
Speaking of scoring, it’s mainly been scoring by committee for the Mustangs. Zac Somers leads the team in goals and points with 17 and 30 respectively, but the Mustangs have nine players with 20 or more points, that’s the second-most in the SJHL. Dawson Leroux is second in team scoring with 13 goals and 27 points, while Riley Ashe is third in points, and leads the team with 20 assists. The 16-year-old is the highest scoring rookie in the SJHL as well with 25 points.
On the blue-line, four defenceman have 20-plus points, with Hayden Tuba leading the way with 24. Not only has this defence core been scoring, but they’ve been able to keep the puck out of the net as the Mustangs allow the third-least goals in the SJHL with 88 through 32 games. This group of defencemen, as well as forward, also suppress shots on goal in a big way, allowing the second-least shots on goal through the first half of the season.
Goaltending has been a highlight throughout the season for the Mustangs as Joel Favreau and James Venne have formed one of the most feared goaltending duos in the SJHL. Venne’s .917 save percentage is tied for fifth best in the SJHL, Favreau’s .915 is ninth. Each goalie has a shutout and Venne and Favreau sit fourth and fifth in goals-against-average.
Heading into the 2023 portion, and the playoff push of the SJHL season, the Mustangs will open it with a bang as they’ll take on the Nipawin Hawks in a home and home set starting in Melfort on Friday, January 6. For the remainder of the season, the Mustangs will play nine games in the Sherwood division against Nipawin (4), La Ronge (3), and Flin Flon (2), which could be massive in ultimately deciding that division winner, and the league standings overall. The Mustangs will also take on Humboldt three more times which should be exciting contests no matter where the teams are in the standings. The Mustangs will also visit the Battlefords North Stars this season. The season wraps up on March 10 when the Mustangs visit the Hawks.
You can see the full schedule HERE.
You can also grab tickets for all the remaining Mustangs home games at tickets.melfortmustangs.com