The Yorkton Terriers had a home ice win, but a pair of road losses was enough to drop the team from top spot in the Saskatchewan Junior Hockey League’s Sherwood Conference.
Melville assumed top spot with a league-leading best 25 points.
The Terriers, with a 10-3-0-1 record sits second with 21 points, and a game in-hand on the Millionaires.
Notre Dame sits third with 14 points, followed by Kindersley with 13 points, Estevan 10, and Weyburn eight.
It took a third period comeback, and an overtime shoot-out, but the Terriers maintained their undefeated season at home so far with a 4-3 win over Nipawin Saturday.
Terrier Jeremy Johnson and Hawk Ted Kozun traded first period goals.
In the second, Kozun was back for his second of the night, with Brady Zerr giving Nipawin a 3-1 lead.
Kailum Gervais drew the home team within one with a goal 3:48 into the third period.
Johnson was back at it for his second of the night at 14:14 to knot the score.
The five-minute, four-on-four overtime settled nothing, setting up the shoot-out where Johnson’s goal would prove the difference.
Kale Thomson faced 23-shots in the game, allowing three goals for the win, while his teammates managed 44 shots at Hawk netminder Davis Jones.
Johnson said it felt good to get back on the score sheet.
“I was on a big slump,” he said, adding he was “pretty nervous” about getting back to scoring some goals.
But lined up with Gervais and Zak Majkowski for the night seemed to revitalize Johnson.
“A change isn’t bad,” he said, adding it worked Saturday as the line clicked.
The shoot out goal was one Johnson admitted surprised him in the sense he wasn’t expecting to be among the Terrier shooters.
“To be honest I didn’t think I was going to be shooting,” he said, but said once at centre ice he did have a plan. “I wanted to go to one side and then shoot for the other. It seemed to work.”
Terrier Assistant coach Casey O’Brien was the main man on the bench Saturday in the absence of head coach Trent Cassan who was away at a camp as a guest coach.
“We played very well,” said O’Brien, adding it was tough starting both the second and third periods short-handed, a situation which made getting into the flow of things more difficult.
The win was a good one in the sense the Terriers have been steady at the Farrell Agencies Arena and want to stay that way.
“We don’t want to lose on home ice,” said O’Brien.
He added that it was something they talked about in the second intermission. “The guys didn’t want to lose at home.”
The Terriers made a two-game, midweek road swing, coming home empty.
Last Tuesday (Oct. 23) Yorkton was in Kindersley, falling behind the host Klippers 2-1 after the opening frame. Connor Gay on the powerplay, and Colton Schick scored for the home team while Majkowski scored late in the first for the Terriers.
The one goal lead would hold up the rest of the way as the teams traded single goals in both the second and third periods to round out a 4-3 Klipper win.
Brady Norrish and Patrick Martens had the Terrier goals, while Colby Daniels and Bradley Buckingham had the Kindersley markers.
Former Terrier Warren Shymko faced 59-shots in the Kindersley nets for the win, while Kale Thomson faced 33 in goal for Yorkton.
A night later the path to the final score was different, but the result was the same, a 4-3 win by the host North Stars.
The Terriers again trailed by a single goal after 20-minutes as Bradon Long scored the only marker of the frame for Battlefords.
The second period was all Terriers, as Gervais, Derek Falloon and Tyler Giebel scored unanswered goals to give Yorkton a 3-1 lead.
But the third was all Stars, as Braeden Johnson, Josh Betinol and Matthew Sheeran all scored even strength goals to give the home team the win.
Dawson MacAuley took the loss in the Terrier nets facing 30 shots in his first start of the season for Yorkton.
Connor Creech faced 26-shots in the win for Battlefords.
O’Brien said the losses were not a matter to be overly concerned with.
“Every loss this year has been by one goal,” he said.
The Terriers were scheduled to host Estevan last night (Tuesday) at the Farrell Agencies Arena, but results were not available at press time.
Friday the Terriers head to Kindersley to face the Klippers, and then stay overnight to face the same team Saturday.
Sunday Yorkton is in the Battlefords.
With seven of their next eight games on the road the Terriers will need to be better than their two losses in enemy rinks this week.
“Hopefully we’ll get some strong performance on the road, and steal some points in other teams’ rinks,” said O’Brien, adding to do that the Terriers have “got to keep it simple.” He added last year the November road games were good for the team as they went 5-2 over the stretch.
The first step is mindset offered Johnson.
“I think we’ve got to get in our minds no game in this league is an easy one,” offered Johnson. “We’ve got to work hard for 60-minutes.”