Stellar goaltending and a pair of key goals gave the Yorkton Terriers two home-ice wins on the weekend.
The pair of wins pushed the Terrier season record to 30-12-2 and 63 points, five up on second place Melville in the Saskatchewan Junior Hockey League Sherwood Conference. Notre Dame is third with 54 points, followed by Kindersley with 37, Estevan with 33 and Weyburn with 29.
Friday Melfort visited the Farrell Agencies Arena where Terrier goaltender Dawson MacAuley and Mustang counterpart Jesse Wilkins locked horns in a classic duel.
Neither netminder would allow a regulation time goal. Wilkins would finally allow the lone goal of the contest with four seconds remaining in the five-minute, four-on-four overtime, as Tyler Giebel scored on the powerplay. Wilkins had faced 52 shots on the night.
MacAuley earned the shut-out based on stopping 30 Mustang shots.
A night later Kindersley was in the city to face the Terriers.
The Terriers would take a 1-0 lead 9:25 into the opening period on a goal by Curtis Oliver. It would prove both the game-winner and only goal of the game, as Tyrell King turned away 42-shots in the Kindersley net, while MacAuley again kept shooters at bay, registering a 21-shot shut-out win in the Terrier net.
MacAuley said he certainly got into the groove and “played well,” Friday night, and that carried through into Saturday. “… I felt really comfortable out there.”
While racking up back-to-back shut-outs, MacAuley shared the glory.
“The team was allowing me to see the shots from the point,” he offered.
From there MacAuley said he tried to stay positionally strong, and it was working.
“I seemed to be in the right position, the right place at the right time,” he said with a smile.
The two wins were a major confidence booster for MacAuley, who admitted when he has had a good game he has tended to come up flat in the next one.
While the Terriers only managing one goal in each game meant some additional pressure, MacAuley said it was something that does register in the back of a goaltender’s mind.
“You know you have to stop everything, or it’s a tie game,” he said, but added he just tries to focus on “… making one save at a time.”
The back-to-back shut-outs were a first for MacAuley at any level of hockey, he said.
“That’s something I’ve never got to experience before,” he said.
Before the weekend set MacAuley said he had met with head coach Trent Cassan who noted the Terrier goaltending had been a bit soft in recent games.
“He emphasized we needed a goalie to step up and start winning some games for us,” said the Terrier netminder. He added it was understood if he performed solidly Friday he would get the start Saturday, too.
MacAuley said he hopes the two wins have raised his status somewhat in the eyes of his coaches, adding he will welcome every start they chose to give him over the last month of the regular season.
Cassan was obviously happy with MacAuley’s effort.
“He certainly had a real solid weekend for us,” he said, adding the effort Friday was good, and he was able to follow it with a similar effort 24-hours later.
Cassan said the wins earned MacAuley another start.
“He gets the next start here,” he said Saturday night after the game.
Although MacAuley stood out, the Terrier offence managed only two goals on 94-shots.
Cassan did not see that as a problem.
“The last time I checked we still had the most goals scored in the league,” he said.
Cassan said as a team which tends to score by committee, the tallies will come, although he added the team might need to find a few corners more often because at present they’re putting a few too many shots into the opposition goaltender’s body.
“I thought a lot of the time shots were in the midsection.” he offered.
Bucked by Broncos
The Terriers headed to Humboldt last Wednesday and found the competition tough.
Brady Norrish scored for Yorkton in the first with Joey Davies notching a Bronco goal.
John Niebrandt scored in the second, but Davies, Dylan Fluter and Alex Forsberg pumped Humboldt goals past Kale Thomson to give the home team a 4-2 lead after 40-minutes of play.
In the third Forsberg, David Stumborg and Kameren Ballas added goals to the Broncos to complete the 7-2 victory.
Thomson faced 35-shots in the game, while Matt Hrynkiw with the win faced 20.
The Terriers hosted Weyburn last week in a game that was lopsided on the shot clock, and close on the scoreboard.
The Terriers would end up out-shooting the Red Wings 45-10, but Weyburn shooters made their limited shots count, scoring three goals, including on both shots registered in the second period.
The teams traded goals in the first period, Kailum Gervais for the home team, and Carter Struthers for Weyburn.
In the second Sam Williams and Kyle Oleniuk scored for the visitors, while Zak Majkowski replied for the Terriers.
In the third Terrier netminder Kale Thomson defended the only shot of the third while John Odgers and Dylan Johnson scored past Jean-Philippe Boucher to secure a 4-3 Terrier win.
The Terriers are scheduled to play in Weyburn, tonight (Wednesday).
Friday Yorkton will play host to Notre Dame at the Farrell Agencies Arena, with Weyburn here Saturday.
Tuesday the Terriers head south to visit Estevan.