The Yorkton Terriers split a pair of games last week, but remain atop the Saskatchewan Junior Hockey League’s Sherwood Conference.
The Terriers’ record is now 27-11-1-2 for 57 points, five better than second place Melville. Notre Dame sits third with 50-points, followed by Kindersley with 37, Estevan with 31 and Weyburn at 28.
Saturday the Terriers were in Assiniboia for a neutral site contest against Notre Dame as part of Hockey Day in Saskatchewan.
The teams played to a 1-1 tie through the opening 20-minutes. Daylan Gatzke scored for Yorkton with Brandon Millin netting one for the Hounds.
The second was the Hounds as they added a pair of unanswered markers from Kale Derkson and Dion Antisin.
In the third Zak Majkowski managed one for Yorkton, but the Hounds had goals from Cory Anderson and Carson Grolla to wrap up a 5-2 win.
Michael Salmon had the win in the Hounds net facing 40 shots, while Dawson MacAuley took the loss facing 39.
Thursday the Terriers hosted La Ronge at the Farrell Agencies Arena.
The Ice Wolves would lead 2-1 after the opening frame, but the Terriers would be up 4-3 after two, and eventually win 6-3.
Brett Hope and Rhett Kehoe scored in the first for La Ronge, with Jeremy Johnson offering the reply for the Terriers.
In the second Kailum Gervais, Majkowski and Johnson gave the Terriers the lead, while Brandon Halbgewachs replied for LaRonge.
Halbgewachs’ goal chased Kale Thomson from the Terrier nets after allowing three goals on 10 shots. MacAuley would finish the game facing 16 shots and stopping them all.
Patrick Martens and Johnson with his hat trick goal rounded out the Terrier scoring in the third.
Dasan Sydora faced 41 Terriers shots in taking the loss in the Icewolves net.
Johnson said the win was a needed one.
“We’ve been struggling after the Christmas break,” he said, adding the problem has been finding consistency.
Terrier head coach Trent Cassan said he was happy to see the team settle down and get the win, noting “we’ve played pretty well on home ice all year long.” He added the team was not “satisfied” with how things went when they played in LaRonge recently, so they wanted to show some positive push back on home ice.
As for his own effort to score three goals, Johnson said it was a case of teammates getting him the puck in situations where he could do something.
Cassan said Johnson’s strength is his effort around the net.
“He wants to go to the net,” he said, adding once there he “wants to score.”
Asked about the move in net Cassan said it was something that happens on occasion, adding it doesn’t mean Thomson has lost anything.
“Kale’s been there for us all year long,” he said, adding “… the guys as a group have faith” in both Thomson and MacAuley, and one game would not change that.
Cassan added Thomson was pulled once earlier this season in Humboldt and came back with solid efforts after that.
Asked about the effect of the goaltending change, Johnson started by deflecting blame from Thomson for the three goals.
“We should have been blocking a few more shots for Kale,” he offered.
Johnson said since goals against are not just a goaltender’s responsibility, when one is pulled, “it kind of wakes everybody up.”
The win was the first appearance for Josh Ellis after his trade deadline signing from Junior ‘B’ with the North Okanagan Knights.
Ellis said having the chance to move up to Junior ‘A’ was something he was hoping for.
“I was lucky enough to get picked up by the Terriers,” he said, adding he sees Yorkton as a great organization to be joining.
While saying the ‘B’ league in British Columbia is a good one, it is “a little bit slower” than the game was Saturday.
Cassan said Ellis “played a pretty responsible game” for his first in the SJHL. He said the young forward “was pretty aware out there” and “did the little things right.”
The Terrier coach said Ellis looks like he can be solid defensively and as an 18-year-old works into the team’s future well.
The Terriers were scheduled to host Weyburn Tuesday, but results were not available at press time.
Friday Yorkton will host Melfort at the Farrell Agencies Arena, with Kindersley in the city Saturday.